The "triumph" of New Age medicine? The Atlantic strikes again

Note added 6/16/2011: The author of the target--I mean subject--of this piece of insolence has responded in the comments.

Note added 6/17/2011: Steve Novella has also commented. He is unusually harsh (for him).

What is it with The Atlantic lately? It used to be one of my favorite magazines. In fact, I was a subscriber for something like 20 or 25 years. Then, back in 2009 at the height of the H1N1 frenzy, The Atlantic published what can only be described as an execrable bit of journalism lionizing the brave maverick doctor Tom Jefferson and arguing, in essence, that vaccinating against H1N1 was a horrendous waste of time and effort. The article was so bad that I applied a characteristic dose of my not-so-Respectful Insolence, while the ever-inimitable Mark Crislip did a complete annotated rebuttal. Even revere (who is, alas, no longer on ScienceBlogs) was most definitely not pleased.

I also let my subscription to The Atlantic lapse and have not to this day renewed it.

Then, last year, The Atlantic published an article that wasn't nearly as bad but was nonetheless pretty darned annoying to anyone who takes the perspective of a science-based physician. Entitled Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science, it was an article lionizing John Ioannidis (whom I greatly admire) while largely mangling the context behind his work. It was written by David H. Freedman, a writer who, it should be noted, also got it so wrong that he wasn't even wrong, so to speak, about Andrew Wakefield. Basically To him the discovery of Andrew Wakefield's scientific fraud was nothing compared to what he saw as the corruption and level of error present in the current medical literature. To Freedman, Wakefield is representative of the system. The bottom line is that the article featuring Ioannidis seemed to confuse what is the strength of science-based medicine with a weakness and garbled a lot of the significance of Ioannidis' work along the way. Freedman's article ended up being depressing to read, because it could have been so much better. Instead, it was a mess.

Now, Freedman's back again, this time with a much, much, much worse story in The Atlantic in the July/August 2011 issue under the heading "Ideas" and entitled The Triumph of New Age Medicine. Yes, I suppose that's an idea. A bad idea. An awful idea. A terrible idea. But it is an idea nonetheless.

Speaking of bad ideas, in contrast to his previous article, in which he managed at least to get the gist of what Ioannidis teaches but merely spun it in what I considered to be an annoying fashion, the entire idea behind Freedman's new article channels the worst fallacies of apologists for alternative medicine. The whole idea behind the article appears to be that, even if most of alternative medicine is quackery (which it is, by the way), it's making patients better because its practitioners take the time to talk to patients and doctors do not. In other words, it's a massive "What's the harm?" argument. Yes, that's basically the entire idea of the article boiled down into a couple of sentences. Deepak Chopra couldn't have said it better. Tacked on to that bad idea is a massive argumentum ad populum that portrays alternative medicine (or, as purveyors of quackademic medicine like to call it, "complementary and alternative medicine" or "integrative medicine") as the wave of the future, a wave that's washing over medicine and teaching us cold, reductionistic doctors to care again about patients and thus make them better. Freedman even contrasts this to what he calls the "failure" of scientific medicine. I kid you not. Worse, Freedman makes this argument after having actually interviewed some prominent skeptics, including Steve Salzberg and Steve Novella, in essence, missing the point.

Let's dig in, shall we?

You know the article's going to be dubious when it starts out with a sympathetic profile of Brian Berman. Regular readers of this blog might remember Dr. Berman, who is what I like to call the head of quackademic medicine at the University of Maryland. In fact, I just wrote about him a mere week ago because of an announcement that he had been appointed to the advisory council for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Less than a year ago, I wrote about him in the context of his having managed to infiltrate the pseudoscience of acupuncture into the hallowed pages of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Then, not unlike the vast majority of the evidence that CAM practitioners prefer over basic science and clinical trials, Freedman segues right into an anecdote about a man named Frank Corasaniti, a 60-year-old retired firefighter who had injured his back falling down a steel staircase at a firehouse some 20 years earlier and had subsequently injured both shoulders and his neck in the line of duty. Corasaniti was suffering from chronic pain due to his old injuries and at the urging of his wife tried acupuncture at Dr. Berman's clinic under the direction of an acupuncturist named Lixing Lao:

His wife, a nurse, urged him to try acupuncture, and in February, with the blessing of his doctor, he finally met with Lao, who had trained in his native China as an acupuncturist. Their first visit had lasted well over an hour, Corasaniti says, time mostly spent discussing every aspect of his injuries and what seemed to ease or exacerbate them, and also other aspects of his health--he had been gaining weight, he was constipated, he was developing urinary problems. They talked at length about his diet, his physical activity, his responsibilities and how they weighed on him. Lao focused in on stress--what was causing it in Corasaniti's life, and how did it aggravate the pain?--and they discussed the importance of finding ways to relax in everyday life.

Then Lao had explained how acupuncture would open blocked "energy pathways" in his body, allowing a more normal flow of energy that would lessen his pain and help restore general health. While soothing music played, Lao placed needles in and around the areas where Corasaniti felt pain, and also in his hands and legs, explaining that the energy pathways affecting him ran throughout his body. The needle emplacement itself took only about three minutes. Lao then asked Corasaniti to lie quietly for a while, and Corasaniti promptly fell asleep, awakening about 20 minutes later when Lao gently roused him. Corasaniti continued to come in for 40-minute sessions twice a week for six weeks, and since then had been coming in once a week.

In other words, acupuncture works because Mr. Corasaniti feels better now.

I wonder how closely Lao is supervised by Dr. Berman or what the formal arrangement is, because, quite frankly, from the description I see here it sure sounds as though Lao is practicing medicine without a license. What are his qualifications in nutrition? Is he a dietician? What are his qualifications as a counselor? In the article, Lao is described as a physiologist with Dr. Berman's center, which to me sounds as though he has zero legitimate qualifications to be discussing diet and counseling Corasaniti how to deal with his injuries. Yet there he is, practicing what sounds like dietetics, counseling, and even medicine without a license at a major academic medical center.

Truly, Freedman strikes me as obliviously out of touch when he pontificates, "Concerns of outright malpractice or naked hucksterism seem grossly misplaced when applied to a clinic like Berman's." Really? I wouldn't so blithely dismiss the possibility when practitioners at Berman's clinic, by Freedman's own report, are telling patients that there is a magical life force whose flow acupuncturists can rearrange by sticking little sharp objects into their bodies and thus heal them. If you start with a completely unscientific premise like that, it infects everything else. Indeed, if there's one thing I've found about alt-med, it's that the supposedly "sensible," science-based advice about diet and exercise that it's co-opted as somehow "alternative" and pointed to as being better than what physicians offer often turns out not to be so sensible or science-based when you look at it more closely. Fad diets, supplements, various "detox" diets are all par for the course. I've pointed out numerous examples right here on this very blog of pure pseudoscience in medical schools and academic medical centers. What makes Freedman think that nutritional advice given out by "integrative medicine" centers affiliated with such institutions is somehow immune from pseudoscience?

Freedman then delves into what he apparently views as the failure of scientific medicine (or what he has imbibed from the promoters of quackademic medicine whom he interviewed as the failure of scientific medicine), beginning by proclaiming that "on balance, the medical community seems to be growing more open to alternative medicine's possibilities, not less." Unfortunately, I can't actually argue with this assessment; thanks to the infiltration of unscientific CAM into former bastions of science-based medicine like the University of Maryland, quackademic medicine is indeed coming to the fore, but Freedman seems to be arguing that this is a good thing rather than a bad thing because somehow, some way to him scientific medicine has "failed." This leaves Freedman making this argument as to why quackademic medicine is so popular:

That's in large part because mainstream medicine itself is failing. "Modern medicine was formed around successes in fighting infectious disease," says Elizabeth Blackburn, a biologist at the University of California at San Francisco and a Nobel laureate. "Infectious agents were the big sources of disease and mortality, up until the last century. We could find out what the agent was in a sick patient and attack the agent medically." To a large degree, the medical infrastructure we have today was designed with infectious agents in mind. Physician training and practices, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, and health insurance all were built around the model of running tests on sick patients to determine which drug or surgical procedure would best deal with some discrete offending agent. The system works very well for that original purpose, against even the most challenging of these agents--as the taming of the AIDS virus attests.

But medicine's triumph over infectious disease brought to the fore the so-called chronic, complex diseases--heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and other illnesses without a clear causal agent. Now that we live longer, these typically late-developing diseases have become by far our biggest killers. Heart disease, prostate cancer, breast cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases now account for three-quarters of our health-care spending. "We face an entirely different set of big medical challenges today," says Blackburn. "But we haven't rethought the way we fight illness." That is, the medical establishment still waits for us to develop some sign of one of these illnesses, then seeks to treat us with drugs and surgery.

This is pure piffle. Note how Elizabeth Blackburn's Nobel Laureate status is touted. Note that what she won her Nobel Prize for (shared it with Carol Greider at Johns Hopkins and Jack Szostak Harvard, actually) for the discovery of telomeres. That's great and was a very important discovery, particularly for cancer research. Believe it or not, however, a Nobel Prize doesn't give Blackburn any particular insight into how medicine is practiced that is any greater than that of any other prominent basic scientist, although she does appear to have been palling around a bit too much with the CAMsters at UCSF Osher Center. Basically, when you boil it all down, her assessment is nothing more than the same old complaint against "reductionistic Western medicine" that CAM supporters trot out again and again. It's just tarted up with a "just so" story about how modern medicine supposedly evolved. It's also presented as though physicians haven't advocated healthy lifestyle interventions for many decades now, and I don't mean the radical low fat diets of the sort touted by Dean Ornish, whom Blackburn's teamed up with. In Freedman's narrative, cribbed from Blackburn, and placed on steroids by Freedman, in come CAM and "integrative medicine" to deal with chronic disease, after, of course, cherry picking examples of conditions against which current treatments have disappointed and reiterating a favorite CAM trope about how the U.S. spends more on health care and has worse outcomes:

All of these shortcomings add up to a grim reality: as a prominent 2000 study showed, America spends vastly more on health as a percentage of gross domestic product than every other country--40 percent more than France, the fourth-biggest payer. Yet while France was ranked No. 1 in health-care effectiveness and other major measures, the United States ranked 37th, near the bottom of all industrialized countries.

This observation is utterly irrelevant to the central thesis of the article implying that CAM can somehow improve health care in the U.S. The reason is that France, just as much as the U.S., uses science-based medicine, not CAM, as its preferred system of health care, nor does France, as far as I can tell, "integrate" quackery with its science-based medicine any more than the U.S. does. Rather, France is just apparently better at providing its science-based care at a lower cost than we are here in the U.S. CAM has nothing to do with it. Yet Freedman deceptively conflates two unrelated issues to imply that CAM can show us the way out of the "failure" of science-based medicine because of its emphasis on "prevention" and the closer, more caring relationship between provider and patient.

The one part of the article that comes closest to making sense is when Steven Novella is quoted thusly:

Steven Novella calls the notion that alternative care's benefits are rooted in closer practitioner-patient interactions the "touchy-feely defense." Novella is a highly respected Yale neurologist, and the editor of Science-Based Medicine, an influential blog that has tirelessly gone after alternative medicine. I met with him in his home outside New Haven, Connecticut, where he argued that claims about the practitioner-patient relationship are only intended to draw attention away from the fact that randomized trials have by and large failed to show that alternative treatments work better than placebos. And while he concedes that sham treatments can give patients a more positive attitude, which can confer real health benefits, he is adamant that providing sham treatments at all--essentially fooling patients into believing they're being helped--is highly unethical. "Alternative practitioners have a big advantage," says Novella. "They can lie to patients. I can't."

And lie to patients they do, such as telling them that sticking little tiny needles into their skin will "unblock" the flow of their life energy, that diluting a remedy containing a substance that causes a symptom will make it stronger at relieving that symptom, or that they can manipulate energy from the "universal source" to make them feel better. But apparently to Freedman it's all good because of placebo effects, which he proceeds to use and abuse in the same way that Mike Adams did when he was seemingly amazed enough to discover that there are placebo effects in medicine that he tried to argue in a massive tu quoque argument that "Western medicine" is every bit as much a placebo as alt-med. He even pulls out an argument that I like to call, "Your Western science can't study my woo because it's 'individualized,'" which is much favored by woo-meisters:

Randomized controlled trials, the medical world's gold standard for assessing the efficacy of treatments, cannot really test for this effect. Such studies are perfect for testing pills and other physically administered treatments that either have a direct physical benefit or don't. (In its simplest form, a controlled study randomly assigns patients to receive either a drug or the equivalent of a sugar pill. If the real thing doesn't bring on more improvement than the placebo does, the drug is a washout.) But what is it that ought to be tested in a study of alternative medicine? To date, the focus has mostly been on testing the physical remedies by themselves--divorced from any other portion of a typical alternative-care visit--with studies clearly showing that the exact emplacement of needles or the undetectable presence of special ingredients in homeopathic water isn't really having any significant physical effect on the patient.

But what's the sham treatment for being a caring practitioner, focused on getting a patient to adopt healthier attitudes and behaviors? You can get every practitioner in each of the study groups to try to interact in exactly the same way with every patient and to say the exact same things--but that wouldn't come close to replicating what actually goes on in alternative medicine, where one of the main points is to customize the experience to each patient and create unique bonds.

This is, of course, utter nonsense, as I and others have pointed out time and time again. For example, I blogged about just such a study that studied the practitioner interaction with the patient compared to the actual acupuncture, and this was published over two years ago. The bottom line is that science-based medicine can and does study the question of how much of an effect is due to the actual intervention and how much is due to nonspecific effects, placebo effects, and practitioner interaction with the patient. If Freedman couldn't find at least a few of these studies, he wasn't looking very hard. Of course, the CAM practitioners he interviewed wouldn't be very likely to point him to them because they are very strong evidence that the vast majority of CAM relies on nonspecific and placebo effects.

The bottom line is that Freedman's article is built on a false dichotomy. Basically, he seems to be arguing that because conventional doctors are constrained by the system of reimbursement from spending a lot of time with patients to get to know them better, empathize with them more, and deal with psychosocial issues we should cede that aspect of patient care to quacks, letting them step into the breach, so to speak. No, that's not a straw man position; that's really what one can reasonably conclude from Freedman's article. He just wouldn't call it "quackery." I would in many (but not all) cases. The reason I would is because what comes in with all the caring attention to patients is often pure pseudoscience based on prescientific vitalism. That's what homeopathy, acupuncture, reiki, and various forms of "energy healing" popular today are. There has to be another way to bring back the "personal touch" and more attentiveness to patients besides telling them that if they want that personal attentiveness they have to go to a quack.

Finishing his article, Freedman looks to the future, proclaiming that the next generation of physicians will determine whether alternative medicine takes hold. Unfortunately, he is probably correct about that. There's a reason why promoters of unscientific medicine are focusing so heavily on medical education, particularly at the medical school level. They're playing for the long term; there's no doubt about that. Right now, they're succeeding, too. The infrastructure is rapidly being built to subvert science in the bastions of academia and replace it with quackademic medicine. The difference between Freedman and me is that he appears to view this mostly as a good thing. I do not.

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By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

I can think of a number of ways to bring back personal touch to medicine. Unfortunately for Freedman and other alt-med boosters they are hard things to do and have little to do with medicine per se.

First is making medical education in the US free. For $3 billion we can send 30,000 people to med school (I assumed a tuition of $100K per year). That's $10 per person per year in taxes. The effect would be to remove a gigantic debt load from med students, and that in turn would steer more of them to primary care. It would also reduce the number of patients they need to see to stay afloat in the business, since they wouldn't exit school owing more than most houses are worth. Reducing the number of patients increases the time spent.

Second is single payer insurance or insurance price controls. Many other countries (and all developed nations) do this. You can argue with the details, but the point is to reduce the hundreds of hours every year that doctors have to spend dickering with insurance companies. Less time haggling = more time with patients.

Coupled with removing the debt load, it seems to me that docs would be a lot less stressed as well (the pressure to make $100K+ per year immediately is reduced).

I don't think either of these is terribly radical, as many other countries do it (especially the former).

But the point is -- w/r/t alt-med's claims -- that much of the complaint that docs can't get to know patients better is because we have a system that discourages people from primary care and makes things like house calls completely out of the question. That has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the effectiveness of science-based medicine.

I find it hypocritical that alt-meds, who talk all day long about "integrating" a patient's life "holistically" or some such blather completely ignore the way the whole system is set up in the US.

But you see, that's really a political question, and those questions are hard to answer. They do not lend themselves to woo-thinking. They require hard choices sometimes and really thinking about what is important to you.

Which brings me to why I brought this stuff up: the whole reason alt-med has an opening is in part because of the way the system of care is constructed. Medical care is pretty intimate, when you get down to it. My mother is an OBGYN -- you can't get much more intimate than that as you are taking part in some of the biggest moments of people's lives.

So there is a whole emotional component there that needs to be addressed, and many physicians do their best. But with 300 patients you don't have the freaking time and not too many docs are also qualified psychotherapists (how could they be?). And the way the medical education system is set up, with the costs and everything else, tends to self-select out the very kind of people who would do that sort of thing well.

Thus you leave the gate open for alt-med, which provides something people want and need, but mostly does it in a way that is completely ineffective at solving the actual physical problem that they might have.

If a large and rigorous study that focused solely on treatment while ignoring patient interaction and "individualization" showed that some alternative method beat placebo, people like Orac would naturally express confusion and inqiure whether the study was flawed. How many alties would do the same thing?

Because is their positition were consistent, they would have to. They would have to say, "That doesn't make any sense, we all know that our system requires individualization of a sort that doesn't show up in tests!" That painting-oneself-into-a-corner is one unfortunate consequence of making excuses in empirical arenas. Of course, we all know they would instead revel, having the cake of empiricism and eating it too.

Yes, conventional health care doctrines are the way to go. Haven't they so often shown us the way with stuff like HRT, low fat diets, and recommendations to increase our intake of Trans Fats (but never ever eat an egg!)?

They pound the table for scientific proof, when it suits them, but go try and find those double blind placebo controlled studies that show that low cholesterol extends life in the general population. Or maybe all those studies that show that we know that vaccines have no longer term negative effects.

Orac, are you running a contest for dumbest comments of the month by altmed/pseudoscience advocates? I didn't think you could top the autism "researcher" who declared that speech impairment was equivalent to an autism, or the latest Choprawoo. Then you give us this:

"But medicine's triumph over infectious disease brought to the fore the so-called chronic, complex diseases--heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and other illnesses without a clear causal agent. Now that we live longer, these typically late-developing diseases have become by far our biggest killers. Heart disease, prostate cancer, breast cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases now account for three-quarters of our health-care spending. "We face an entirely different set of big medical challenges today," says Blackburn. "But we haven't rethought the way we fight illness." That is, the medical establishment still waits for us to develop some sign of one of these illnesses, then seeks to treat us with drugs and surgery."

Yes, what a miserable failure this proves scientific medicine to be! We aren't keeling over right and left from epidemics, "blood poisoning' and the like and surviving longer to get chronic diseases. Surgery keeps us alive and healthy after formerly fatal conditions like ruptured appendicitis and diverticulitis. We survive to develop cancers (some of which used to be death sentences, like testicular CA, choriocarcinoma and many lymphomas, which are now curable, and other cancers like those of breast and prostate can often be managed for many years with substantial quality of life). We get heart disease (which again, can be managed with marked improvement in quality of life if not increased longevity). How terrible a failure this all is!

Far preferable to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear when homeopathy, acupuncture and the like proved themselves far superior to Western "scientific" medicine. Hell, it's worth it to die young if the doc listens to our need for woo and gives us what we want.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

I wonder if Blackburn's comment qualifies as the dumbest comment ever from a Nobel Laureate. Probably not. There's always James Watson, after all.

Thanks Jesse, for touching upon the "there has to be a better way" parts of the issue I really want to hear more about from doctors - the part that focuses on us, rather than the crazies.

"I wonder if Blackburn's comment qualifies as the dumbest comment ever from a Nobel Laureate. Probably not. There's always James Watson, after all."

James Watson has said something dumber than teleporting DNA?

"I wouldn't be so sure when the clinic is telling patients that there is a magical life force that acupuncturists can rearrange by sticking little sharp objects into their bodies and thus heal them. If you start with a completely unscientific premise like that, it infects everything else."

If people who don't accept modern medicine are sticking little sharp objects into human bodies, I'd worry a bit about more literal infection too. 

Conventional care has done some great things with crisis care and surgery. If you have a serious infection, need a complicated surgery, or are in a car accident, you want these people. By the way, the huge advances in life expectancy stems primarily from the vast improvements in infectious disease mortality. This is generally attributed to advancements in public health, rather than medicine. To a large degree we need to thank the plumbers more than doctors.

In terms of chronic illness it's not so good with conventional care. Personally, when it comes to digestive disorders, Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes, etc.I'm far more impressed with what I've seen from CAM than the regular docs. As far as prevention goes....with conventional care it's the dark ages.

By the way, some of the healthiest populations in the world have Homeopathy as their primary care source.

David, [citation needed]

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

David is right that we need to give significant credit to plumbers and everyone else who is responsible for supplying clean water and getting rid of wastes. But that's not a CAM thing: that's based on germ theory, which is at or close to the heart of scientific medicine. He's also ignoring the importance of routine vaccination in public health: for the most part, people aren't dying of measles, smallpox, diphtheria, and tetanus. They aren't being killed or paralyzed by polio in most of the world (WHO is still working on the rest, despite paranoid religious leaders who are blocking vaccination campaigns).

That's in large part because mainstream medicine itself is failing. "Modern medicine was formed around successes in fighting infectious disease," says Elizabeth Blackburn, a biologist at the University of California at San Francisco and a Nobel laureate. "Infectious agents were the big sources of disease and mortality, up until the last century....

Among the top ten causes of death worldwide, according to the WHO:

#3) Lower respiratory infections
#5) Diarrhoeal diseases
#6) HIV/AIDS
#7) Tuberculosis

Infectious agents are most of the causes in poor countries, but who cares about them, really?

But medicine's triumph over infectious disease brought to the fore the so-called chronic, complex diseases--heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and other illnesses without a clear causal agent....

I think some clear causal agents have been identified with regard to, say, cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, some cancers,... Smoking, for example, rings a bell. And the food system.

That is, the medical establishment still waits for us to develop some sign of one of these illnesses, then seeks to treat us with drugs and surgery.

Acupuncture, enemas, and homeopathy are much better. Really. Don't bother addressing these as public health issues. No money in that.

***

The reason is that France, just as much as the U.S., uses science-based medicine as its preferred system. It's just apparently better at providing that science-based care at a lower cost than we are. CAM has nothing to do with it.

Socialized health care has quite a bit to do with it.

Yes, conventional health care doctrines are the way to go. Haven't they so often shown us the way with stuff like HRT, low fat diets, and recommendations to increase our intake of Trans Fats (but never ever eat an egg!)?

And how do we know that, for instance, the risks of HRT are much greater than appreciated at first? Oh right, science. That's the wonderful thing about it. When it's wrong, it self-corrects better than any other scheme.

So tell me, when has (for instance) homeopathy ever found out that it was wrong about something and improved its practice?

By the way, some of the healthiest populations in the world have Homeopathy as their primary care source.

Citation needed.

By the way, I actually agree that mainstream medicine has failed. It has specifically failed to reject quackery as it ought.

By the way, some of the healthiest populations in the world have Homeopathy as their primary care source.

Which ones? Are we talking about entire national / regional populations, or self-selected individuals who are healthy enough (because they live in societies with stong public heath initiatives) to use homeopathy as their medicine of personal choice?

By wintermute (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

So we would be the healthiest people in the world at low cost if we abandoned modern medicine and went with socialized homeopathic care?

Anyone care to comment on the "science" behind the safety studies for things like Fluoridation, GMO, Estrogen mimicking plastics, and the off the chart number of food additives to which conventional health care has given its blessings. Like I said above, how about some "science" supporting the Holy Grail theory of conventional Cardiology...Cholesterol?

When I was persuaded against my better judgment to have acupuncture several years ago, for a chronic sinus problem, it was done by a grumpy old Chinese man who spoke no English and communicated through an interpreter. There was nothing remotely "touchy-feely" about the experience. Maybe that's why it did absolutely no good at all. Sometimes with CAM you get a useless treatment and an awful bedside manner.

@David

Personally, when it comes to digestive disorders, Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes, etc.I'm far more impressed with what I've seen from CAM than the regular docs.

I would hazard a guess that you haven't seen very much. What effective CAM treatments are there for digestive disorders, arthritis, cancer and diabetes? Can CAM cure gastric ulcers, reduce the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis preventing crippling deformities, cure childhood leukemia, or manage type 1 diabetes?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

David: Do you care to comment on which societies use homeopathy as their primary health care? Or are you just going to pretend you never claimed that, and keep throwing crap against the wall, in case you accidentally say something that isn't completely laughable?

By wintermute (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Anyone care to comment on the "science" behind the safety studies for things like Fluoridation, GMO, Estrogen mimicking plastics, and the off the chart number of food additives to which conventional health care has given its blessings. Like I said above, how about some "science" supporting the Holy Grail theory of conventional Cardiology...Cholesterol?

How about you provide some evidence that sCAM does a better job with such things than science? Claimed imperfections in the one does not mean that the other is superior. Especially when said imperfections aren't backed up with any evidence that they're real.

New age medicine- homeopathy, reiki, accupuncture, energy healing, as well as herbal and supplement-based "treatments"- is the 21st Century equivalent of patent medicine.

Over one hundred years ago, untested and un-regulated concoctions containing active ingredients like alcohol and controlled substances ( opiates and cocaine) were widely available. Two hundred years ago, it was even worse. I've read accounts of some of the more famous "addicts" of literature** whose treatment of relatively minor complaints ( coughs, neuralgia, arthritis) started the ball rolling. Those who lived in a cold, damp places with poor heating ( be it London or New London) were especially susceptible to these complaints and sought help from "practitioners" and salesmen dispersing goods for self-treatment.

Today, while science-based treatments are available, many complaints, cyclic and unpredictable, as well as those less amenable to treatment, render sufferers vulnerable to the predations of new age providers. Like our predecessors, we moderns also suffer from psychological complaints, from minor transient dissatisfactions to outright mental illness.

Our woo-meisters inculcate mistrust of modern medicine, aided and abetted by articles like this one: I'm sure it'll be quoted widely by the usual suspects. Usually the false dichotomy is portrayed in vivid shades of black and white***: a "Paradigm Shift" is under-way, out with the old, in with the new! SBM is riddled with COI's and tied to the machinations of Pharma, Government, Universities, and the Media. The audience, not schooled in stat, doesn't appreciate the subtle results of studies that are well done: woo, you see, promises 100% improvements and cures, because it is, at heart, an opiate itself- soothing pains and qualms, re-assuring fears, pulling the sufferer far from the cares and distractions of reality to a fair land of pleasure and certainty where all is as you would wish.

** the fabled triad of linguistic ability, depression, and substances.
*** which tells me lots about their level of thinking.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

"Among the top ten causes of death worldwide, according to the WHO:

#3) Lower respiratory infections
#5) Diarrhoeal diseases
#6) HIV/AIDS
#7) Tuberculosis

Infectious agents are most of the causes in poor countries, but who cares about them, really?"

Hey, if they aren't surviving to get cancer and various chronic diseases, it's a big plus for them. Live fast, die young and leave a ravaged corpse, I always say.

"By the way, some of the healthiest populations in the world have Homeopathy as their primary care source."

Yes, do tell us which people are fortunate enough to have homeopathy as their primary health care modality for dealing with cancer and diabetes, and do so much better than people stuck with Evil Reductionist We$tern Medicine.

Gimme that old-time magic water any day.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

LW, I must have missed the posts extolling the virtues of socialized care.
Way to go.....Bring your personal politics into it.

As far as Homeopathy goes...It'd definitely be cheaper and less toxic. Additionally the average Homeopath can run circles around most conventional doctors regarding nutrition and other preventive issues. Given the over medicated state of our amazingly unhealthy population, it seems apparent that we should do better. Homeopathy might well be more effective, except for crisis and surgical situations.

David,

Please, provide your lists of the "healthiest populations in the world" who can provably thank homeopathy for their longevity and health. Citations needed, of course.

You claimed it, so back it up, please.

By Blasphemous_Kansan (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Bacon, You could start with the Greek Islands, home of some of the World's healthiest people, and where Homeopathy is often the only local medicine. You might also consider an impressive list of wealthy and prominent people who have access to virtually any practitioner on the Planet, and who have opted for the modality (Including the long lived women of England's Royal Family.)

Do you not comprehend the term "citation?" It means actual published peer-reviewed research supporting your claim. And some more specific comments:

As far as Homeopathy goes...It'd definitely be cheaper and less toxic.

Since it's water and does nothing, this is likely true to some extent. But since it does nothing, it's not exactly a replacement for real medicine.

Additionally the average Homeopath can run circles around most conventional doctors regarding nutrition and other preventive issues.

Yet again, citation needed.

Given the over medicated state of our amazingly unhealthy population, it seems apparent that we should do better.

Should do better, I'll grant you. But how does that demonstrate that homeopathy IS better?

Homeopathy might well be more effective, except for crisis and surgical situations.

Citation, again, needed.

It's hard to find health data for the Greek Islands distinct from the mainland (you can provide that for us, right?), but this claims that the health care there is modern and science-based: http://www.atlasinternational.com/en-GB/greek-islands/lifestyle/

As for the Royal Family, it's true that they use homeopathic remedies for self-limiting contitions, but they also use real medicine when required. And they benefit from living somewhere where endemic diseases are controlled by a public health system that relies on modern, science-based medicine. Not to mention the fact that "The Royal Family" is a tiny group of 21 people (counting those currently living), all closely-related; and extrapolating their health to indicate the efficacy of one of the modalities they use is bound to be confounded by genetic and lifestyle issues, even if one is able to definitively say they they do indeed live longer than most people (Princess Mary, for example, died at age 67, which is below the national average, even if you don't factor out inustrial accidents and the like. Princess Mariana (who was Greek!) died at the age of 52).

By wintermute (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Wow, that was a horrible run-on sentence. Sorry.

By wintermute (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

You might also consider an impressive list of wealthy and prominent people who have access to virtually any practitioner on the Planet, and who have opted for the modality

No, I might not. Crap, it's not even an argument from authority, because celebrities and/or the rich are not authorities. Argumentum ad Hollywoodum?

By your own logic, you should be a Scientologist. Good luck.

how about some "science" supporting the Holy Grail theory of conventional Cardiology...Cholesterol?

My understanding is that there's a strong correlation between cholesterol levels, atherosclerosis, and heart disease. I also recall specific observed processes where cholesterol can cause atherosclerosis. My recollection is that recent studies (I don't have a link on me) show that lowering cholesterol, including treatment with statin drugs, can reduce the chance of heart attacks in people with known cardiac disease.My understanding is that cholesterol is only one of many risk factors. Others include smoking and overall activity level.When I did a pubmed search on cholesterol and heart disease, I found 1622 articles. It sounds like there's been a fair amount of study.If there's something in particular about the state of cholesterol research you're interested in, possibly someone more knowledgeable can answer better defined questions.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

@David - since CAM true believers find personal anecdotes and testimonials more convincing than scientific evidence, here's a couple for you:

- about 15 years ago I had acupuncture to treat a back injury that happened on the job (no pointing and laughing from the RI peanut gallery, please - I was young, it was the '90s and woo was the new black!) It was a fairly straightforward muscle strain and the chiropractor (I said no laughing!!) I was seeing at the time decided to do acupuncture rather than try to adjust the area. It did temporarily relieve the pain, though it's entirely possible that was a placebo effect, but I can't say it helped me heal any faster. I think it was better in a week, which is probably about the same amount of time it would have taken to heal anyway. And in my chiropractor's defense, he also gave me perfectly sensible advice to ice the area, stay mobile but don't strain it, and so on. Anyway, my point is it wasn't any more effective than taking an NSAID would have been, and getting acupuncture is uncomfortable, time-consuming, and carries a risk of infection and/or injury from the needles.

- back in 2009 my entire family (me my husband and our then 2-year-old son) came down with H1N1 at once, just as the vaccine nontroversy was gathering steam. It was absolute hell. Luckily none of us needed to be hospitalized, but my husband and I were both incapacitated for nearly a week, and it was several more weeks before we fully recovered. We nearly had to cancel a trip to a family wedding because we weren't sure we'd be allowed on the plane. So much for acquiring immunity "naturally." I would have gotten the vaccine in a heartbeat if I'd had the chance.

I'd be interested to know exactly where these healthy people who use homeopathy as primary care live? My guess would be: they're either wealthy people in countries where there's easily accessible conventional medical care that keeps the general population healthy enough not to be a risk to the woo-lovers, or: they're very isolated and don't come into contact with a lot of foreign pathogens in their daily life.

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

@David
If you are truly interested in cholesterol and cardiovascular health I suggest you read all four parts of Daniel Steinberg's 'The Pathogenesis of Atherosclerosis. An interpretive history of the cholesterol controversy'. You can find the first part here and links to the other three parts at the end.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Beamup.....Try Google....with an open mind. Type in "HOMEOPATHY". Check out what the supporters have to say, not just what the other side has to say....Maybe there just might be two sides to the argument? While you're at it, check out the incredible list of people who have chosen the modality over the years.

Also while you're at it type into Google "106000 drugs"....reportedly the number of Americans who died from the "proper use" of conventional drugs in 2003(?). Now remember that this is the verified number of connected deaths, not the certainly much larger number of casualties from longer team usage. While you're at it throw in the tens of thousands who die from non prescription drugs. Now throw in the amazing loss of life from "doctor supervised" medical errors, infections, malnutrition, etc. Might just be time to rethink the "overall" abilities of conventional care?

If we're going to argue by anecdata, I'll throw in my great uncle as an argument for E/SBM as opposed to CAM. He was blown off his horse in WW1 by a mine (or a previously-unexploded shell) and nearly lost both his legs below the knees. Fortunately for him the roads were too muddy to get him back to the field hospital to finish the amputations the blast started, so the medico sprinkled some new-fangled pharmacological concoction* onto the wounds and hoped for the best.

My great uncle died from a stroke some eighty years later, with both his legs and without the need for a cane or a walker. (Albeit with a distinct aversion to wearing shorts for the rest of his life, but that's a small price.)

For every testimonial for alt med, there probably should be ten or a hundred for the medical techniques that arose from hard-won knowledge and experience.

-- Steve

* Family tradition had it as an early form of sulfa, but a check of Wikipedia shows that to be unlikely... there were some arsenides available back then, though, apparently primarily used against VD so I can understand why the familial version would, er, polish that little dent in the story out.

@ Edith Prickly: the "healthy people who use homeopathy as primary care" reside exclusively in the vivid imaginations of woo-meisters.

BTW: I would *never* point and laugh at one who has *reformed* after being inveigled into a single escapade by a canny proselytiser (Shame on him!) who used the foot-in-the-door techniques via chiro ( a/k/a PhysTher). It wasn't your fault.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Ah, so I'm supposed to do the research to support your claims for you. It don't work that way.

There are not two sides to the argument. Homeopathy has repeatedly and conclusively been demonstrated to be nothing more than an elaborate placebo. Anyone who claims otherwise is either unaware of the facts, or disregarding them.

Also while you're at it type into Google "106000 drugs"....reportedly the number of Americans who died from the "proper use" of conventional drugs in 2003(?). Now remember that this is the verified number of connected deaths, not the certainly much larger number of casualties from longer team usage. While you're at it throw in the tens of thousands who die from non prescription drugs. Now throw in the amazing loss of life from "doctor supervised" medical errors, infections, malnutrition, etc.

... and compare that total to the number of lives saved by modern medicine.

What's your point? Do you beleive that people tend to die younger than they did before medicine became evidence-based?

By wintermute (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

David: If you are going to make a claim, it is your responsibility to provide supporting evidence, not to send everyone who asks you to back it up on a google scavenger hunt. As it is, your suggested course of action provides no strength to your claims. Your failure in this regard shows that you do not know that much about critical thought.

However, I do agree with one point you make: there are two sides to this argument, and one of them is provably wrong. What the supporters have to say, as well as the number of people who have chosen this treatment speak nothing to it's efficacy.

Paragraph 2: non-squitor.....nothing to do with homeopathy...whatever.

So far from David's post we've got
1) Shifting burden of proof (refusal to cite, suggested that everyone just go to google for citations),
2) Confirmation bias (go read what the supporters say!)
3) Argument from popularity (thousand of people over the years)
4) Argument from authority (The royal family!!)

Just one more and I get fallacy bingo!

By Blasphemous_Kansan (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

@David - from the Wikipedia entry on homeopathy:

"Homeopathy (pronunciation: i /ËhoÊmiËÉpÉθi/; also spelled homoeopathy[1] or homÅopathy) is a form of alternative medicine in which practitioners treat patients using highly diluted[2][3] preparations that are believed to cause healthy people to exhibit symptoms that are similar to those exhibited by the patient. The collective weight of scientific evidence has found homeopathy to be no more effective than a placebo.[2][3][4][5][6]

In the context of homeopathy, the term remedy is used to refer to a substance prepared with a particular procedure and intended for treating patients; it is not to be confused with the generally accepted use of the word, which means "a medicine or therapy that cures disease or relieves pain".[7]
The basic principle of homeopathy, known as the "law of similars", is "let like be cured by like." It was first stated by German physician Samuel Hahnemann in 1796. His "law of similars" is taken on his word[8] as an unproven assertion, and is not a true law of nature based on the scientific method.[9] Homeopathic remedies are prepared by serial dilution with shaking by forceful striking on an elastic body, which homeopaths term succussion. Each dilution followed by succussion is assumed to increase the effectiveness. Homeopaths call this process potentization. Dilution often continues until none of the original substance remains.[10] Apart from the symptoms, homeopaths examine aspects of the patient's physical and psychological state,[11] then homeopathic reference books known as repertories are consulted, and a remedy is selected based on the totality of symptoms."

Now I am not a scientist or medical professional like a lot of the commenters here, but it seems to me that homeopathy is simply an outmoded, pre-scientific theory that really should have been abandoned sometime between the establishment of Pasteur's germ theory and the discovery of antibiotics. I'll concede it was less risky than most of the conventional medical treatments available in 1796 (bloodletting, purging, etc.) but that's because it was basically ineffective. In the past 200-odd years, conventional medicine has become very effective. Homeopathy, on the other hand, is still useless and all the testimonials in the world from celebrities and royalty won't change that.

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Although the traditional explanation for why Acupuncture works is hokier than the rationale for Chiropractry, if it is all smoke and mirrors it shouldn't work on dogs, horses, and other animals but it does.

David said: ""By the way, some of the healthiest populations in the world have Homeopathy as their primary care source."

followed by:

"Homeopathy might well be more effective (bolding added), except for crisis and surgical situations."

So now it's only possibly more effective? You seemed so positive at first. You must be losing confidence in your woo.

Speaking of "triumphs" of New Age medicine, USA Today has a good feature story dealing with one of those "triumphs" - the return of preventable infectious diseases due to vaccine refusal. Fine article (it even quotes the Dark Lord of Vaccination, Paul Offit).
For the "it's my body, screw the rest of you" types, there's a nice anecdotal example of who's placed at risk in these situations:

"Among the most vulnerable patients are children with cancer, including Ben Bredesen, 3½, who has acute leukemia. He was exposed to measles in March by another child at the Minneapolis hospital where he receives chemotherapy, says his mother, Laura Bredesen of Minneapolis. "I can't tell you how much weight I lost, how sick you feel, checking your child at night to make sure he's still breathing," says Bredesen, noting that infections such as measles could kill her son. "You're looking at every little thing as a symptom."

Ben was lucky this time and didn't develop measles. But he will remain vulnerable during the two years of cancer therapy ahead. "My kid is fighting for his life every single day," Bredesen says. "There is no reason that he should have to fight even harder because other people aren't vaccinating their kids."

This is the kind of reporting needed to shake up the parents who are vulnerable to antivax nonsense. Quote them the extensive research rebutting antivax claims, sure - but powerful anecdotes like this are also valuable for influencing those who care not only about their own children but others as well.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Animal acupuncture: Acupunct Med 2011;29:21-26 doi:10.1136/aim.2010.002576

@david

Scientific citations, please, for your position, not google.

You made the claim, you put up the citation, or we have to assume you are just lying.

Meph, Tons of research, now find a good one showing that elevated cholesterol reduces life expectancy in the overall otherwise healthy population. I think that you might find that among younger men there is some correlation, otherwise, I think there is actually some suggestion of an inverse correlation. Additionally I think there's a pretty good leap of faith with the high cholesterol/heart disease connection. Is the cholesterol the cause? Maybe it's just a symptom? Better yet maybe it's an attempt by the body to heal itself? Fact is statins do help many with serious heart problems, but it's far certain that they do this by lowering cholesterol.

"Alternative practitioners have a big advantage. They can lie to patients. I can't."

Has been added to my random quotes page and attributed to Dr. Steven Novella, M.D.

-Karl Withakay

I kept hearing "That Mitchell and Webb Look" doing the "Homeopathic A&E" the entire time I read this post, and then when I started reading the inanities of David.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMGIbOGu8q0

As for socialized medicine, there is a lot of evidence that it provides better care and creates a much healthier (and more productive) populace than this creature of a health system we have in America. Socialized medicine seems to also do a much better job of limiting the influences of CAM and IM.

Mooney, G. H. (January 01, 2008). The people principle in Australian health care. The Medical Journal of Australia, 189, 3, 171-2.

...our amazingly unhealthy population...

Um! This is the one that is living longer with a better quality of life than at any time in history, right? Wow! Yes, we really need to do something about that - we're dropping like flies.

Although the traditional explanation for why Acupuncture works is hokier than the rationale for Chiropractry, if it is all smoke and mirrors it shouldn't work on dogs, horses, and other animals but it does.

The problem is that the horses and dogs can't actually rate their degree of pain. So their owner basically says "he's acting like he's in less pain than he was before the treatment". So, is the treatment working on the animal, or on the owner?

By wintermute (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

David #44:
"I think...."

"I think...."

"I think...."

Yes, we know you think, though you're not very good at it. It would be nice, however, if you would learn how to CITE!

By Blasphemous_Kansan (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Nova, gimme a break, I'm spending too much time trying to find a study that shows higher cholesterol reduces life expectancy in the general population to work for you. You'll have to trust me the same way the general population trusts the MD's. When some of the conventional care crowd actually follows there own BS regarding "studies" we'll talk. Fact is I'm not here to particularly support Homeopathy, but I'm open minded enough to have checked out both sides of the story.

Given how good animals are at hiding distress, I've always viewed the mechanism for animal acupuncture as rather straightforward. Fluffy quickly learns that the sanction for showing any distress is to get stabbed. Many times.

"Works like a charm, Doc!"

Altmed proponents accuse us skeptics of being dismissive, arrogant, and of trying to restrict people's freedom. While I think altmed is stupid and should be discouraged, I wouldn't care half as much about it if they would just go off and do their thing and stay out of our medical schools. But since they won't, we have every right to call it what it is: bullshit.

@ David

You might also consider an impressive list of wealthy and prominent people who have access to virtually any practitioner on the Planet, and who have opted for the modality (Including the long lived women of England's Royal Family.)

Sorry, son. Being wealthy and prominent doesn't guarantee that someone isn't susceptible to being conned. Heck, even high intelligence (including scientific) doesn't make that guarantee.

Humans are extremely good at fooling themselves. That's why the scientific method exists and works -- it's a mechanism that helps us avoid that tendency to self-delusion. That's why we want evidence from you, not references to the "wealthy and prominent."

Look up "argument from authority" and "argument from popularity" -- they're both logical fallacies. They sound good, but really prove nothing. They're just two more ways in which we fool ourselves.

You must suck at research, David.

Law, M. R., Wald, N. J., & Rudnicka, A. R. (January 01, 2003). Quantifying effect of statins on low density lipoprotein cholesterol, ischaemic heart disease, and stroke: systematic review and meta-analysis. Bmj (clinical Research Ed.), 326, 7404.) doi: 10.1136/bmj.326.7404.1423

How many of these kinds of studies would satisfy a completely uneducated poster like David? What kind of evidence would EVER satisfy alt-med woo trolls?

Blasphemous, Given the cost of American care, and the sad levels of American health, am I really the one who needs to explain himself? How about CITING some proof that Fluoridation is safe over the longer term? Can you show me CITATIONS that prove that a vaccine won't come back to haunt me in forty years?

David, you're moving goal posts and refusing to react to answers that have been given to you. You have yet to provide a citation to the full-on bullshit you posted about homeopathy. Is there and effect of fluoridation that would indicate that such a study is required? Is there some kind of linkage to vaccines for diseases or effects after 40 years that would justify the cost of a long term study? Anything can be studied, but to limit spending money on wild-goose chases there usually has to be some sort of reason to do the study. So far all you've given (and I suspect all you're going to give) is generalities, arguments from incredulity and uneducated guesswork.

It is obvious you aren't well educated, nor are you very good at understanding the scientific process or even the reality of economics in science. Why are you here?

if it is all smoke and mirrors it shouldn't work on dogs, horses, and other animals but it does.

Oh no, not again this old canard.

Yeah, because after more than 6 millennia of domestication, we still have not established any form of relationship with our horses and dogs.
There is absolutely no way a domesticated animal could expect anything from its provider.
When it's hungry, we feed it. When itâs thirty, we water it. When it's dirty, we clean it (OK, sometimes). When it has thorns or parasites latched to its skin, we remove them. When it needs company, we pet it.
And when we forget, it will be looking for us.
But when it's sick or in pain, and we do something to it, there is no way it may expect to be better, and start acting accordingly. After all, we just failed to provide for all its other needs, didn't we?

And there are no way that the provider may be erroneously thinking "eh, you are going better!" after giving some magic water to his cherished doggy. Humans never do wishful thinking.

Yeah, my family just loses their dog. Old age and arthritis. I can give you some testimonials of placebo effects he (and us) demonstrated.

By Heliantus (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Oh no, not again this old canard.

IT WORKS ON PLANTS!!! (John Benneth says so.)

Jayk, Actually it appears s that rather than my sucking at research, it might be that you suck at reading? I asked for a good study that showed that a general population of reasonably healthy people with lower cholesterol outlived a similar group with higher cholesterol. You came back with some meta-analysis of sick people who are being treated with drugs. Additionally, I think it is arguable that rather than cholesterol reduction, some other statin induced benefits might have affected the result. Additionally I see nothing about overall life expectancy here.

David--

Since you're so fond of anecdotes: a relative of mine suffers from chronic pain, including hand pain. She was convinced to try acupuncture, with the argument that it might help and couldn't hurt. It did hurt. Literally and significantly: it increased the amount of pain in her hand by quite a bit. The acupuncturist was surprised, or claimed to be.

I'm mentioning this simply because it's not true that the only risk of CAM treatments is to the patients' time and budget (though those are nontrivial).

@David: Keep moving goalposts, troll. You still haven't provided a single scientific reason for your pseudoskepticism. Again I ask: Why are you here?

Shorter David - "I don't have to back up what I say - YOU have to back up what you say!"

@David

type into Google "106000 drugs"....reportedly the number of Americans who died from the "proper use" of conventional drugs in 2003(?). Now remember that this is the verified number of connected deaths

That frequently repeated number is a bugbear of mine. It comes from this study.

Lazarou looked at studies of adverse drug reactions, mostly from the 60s and 70s, that included a total of 78 deaths out of 46,625 patients, and then extrapolated (with a little statistical manipulation) from these to the 33,125,492 total US hospital admissions in 1994 to come up with the 106,000 figure.

If you exclude studies from the 60s and 70s and include only those from the 80s and 90s there were only 5 deaths out of 11,376 patients, or 0.04%. The 106,000 figure is not in any sense a "verified number of connected deaths".

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Jayk,

Troll? More likely just suggesting inconvenient thoughts? Does good science mock the inconvenient? You really think that there are no questions about Fluoridation, and that other countries aren't running from it? Do you really think that I'm the only one who wonders if vaccines or medications might have long term unknowns?

And with David's #55 post we get 'shifting the goalposts', and I get fallacy Bingo!! Do I get an extra prize since the 'bingo' fallacy came in a comment directed at me?

To answer David's first question: Yes, you made the statement, so you are the one who needs to explain yourself. Easy.

By Blasphemous_Kansan (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Let's see - lots of people aren't dying of things they used to, so now the medical community is having to deal with more chronic problems that are the result of an aging & more obese population of survivors.....and of course, I never see or hear the medical community talk about improved nutrition or prevention, right?

http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/399/hsr-prevention-wellness…

Huh....imagine that.

David, YOU make the argument, YOU provide the proof. That's how one debates an issue.
Otherwise you're just giving me a headache-and my desk can't take any more beating.

Anyone get "bingo" yet? Or is it sack time?

On fluoridation: Seeing as fluoride is a naturally occurring nutrient that is in many natural water supplies, and sometimes has to be filtered out, that means that any long-term effects have already been determined before artificial fluoridation. Mostly, it causes ugly teeth if there's too much of it.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Given how good animals are at hiding distress, I've always viewed the mechanism for animal acupuncture as rather straightforward. Fluffy quickly learns that the sanction for showing any distress is to get stabbed. Many times.

This is frigging gold, made me laugh out loud. I think you've stumbled on the unifying theory of acupuncture: the body learns that being sick means getting stabbed, so it learns not to be sick anymore.

I'm using that.

@David: Again you made an assertion that needs to be backed up by a citation: "You really think that there are no questions about Fluoridation, and that other countries aren't running from it?" I'm not going to go do the research that you're too lazy to cite from a reliable source. I said that there are no long term studies of the effects of public water source fluoridation because there hasn't been a single scientific reason to do it and funding is scarce. Do you have a reason to do such a study? Why not go to school and then YOU can do the study. Or you can even write up a proposal and submit it to various facilities so someone that has some actual intelligence can do it for you.

Just because you have questions doesn't mean that everyone should jump and follow your directions based on unresearched and unfounded misinformation that you got from whale.to.

I love David's most recent tangent.

David: Homeopathy will fix everything!
Non-clueless posters: Where's your evidence?
David: Find it yourself!
Non-clueless posters: Back up your own claims.
David: Um, er, FLUORIDATION IS BAD! Now you have to prove it isn't.

Complete non sequitur in a transparent attempt to divert attention from how completely his foolish claims have been obliterated.

Really David, youâre not here to support homeopathy? Then who posted this?

As far as Homeopathy goes...It'd definitely be cheaper and less toxic. Additionally the average Homeopath can run circles around most conventional doctors regarding nutrition and other preventive issues. Given the over medicated state of our amazingly unhealthy population, it seems apparent that we should do better. Homeopathy might well be more effective, except for crisis and surgical situations.

All I did was Google âhomeopathyâ like you said. I just happened to find factual information and suddenly you donât want to discuss it anymore.

By Edith Prickly (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

David,
I don't personally have a problem with "inconvenient" thoughts. What you've done so far is come in scattershot with a bunch of comments that have been done to death and have been so far found to be without merit.
I'll talk about one - you said "Additionally the average Homeopath can run circles around most conventional doctors regarding nutrition and other preventive issues." Now, I have no doubt that some homeopaths know more than some doctors about nutrition. Knowledge varies from individual to individual.
But you said the average homeopath knows more than most doctors about nutrition. Why do you say this? Do homeopaths in training have to study more nutrition courses than doctors in training do? Has someone done a survey showing that on average homeopaths understand more about the current best research on nutrition than most doctors do?
Or is it the canard that doctors only know how to prescribe pills and set broken bones?
Now, to paraphrase Michael Vick I have no dog in this fight. If you have data that homeopaths know more about nutrition (backed by solid research) than doctors, please share. Likewise, if you have knowledge of any research on any of the topics you've brought up that agrees with your stated views, please share.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

@David
I suggest you read the articles I linked to above #32.

Here's a study of statins in 17,802 apparently healthy men and women which found that they reduced "cardiovascular events without a systematic increase in reported adverse events".
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21492764

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

@Damien:

I'm glad I brightened somebody's day today. Have fun with it!

That's in large part because mainstream medicine itself is failing... [M]edicine's triumph over infectious disease brought to the fore the so-called chronic, complex diseases--heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and other illnesses without a clear causal agent.

More importantly, scientific medicine gave us long life, and long life gave us uncertainty and ennui. CAM treats uncertainty and ennui by giving people populist resistance narratives, magic promises and certainty in Timeless Truths handed down by charismatic prophets.

I was going to say something about Dave's argumentum ad populum and argument from antiquity for CAM and his demand that we Google up the CAM echo chamber, but then he said stuff about water fluoridation. There's not much point arguing with General Jack D. Ripper.

By Scott Cunningham (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Since no one else has commented on the actual study that was posted by a drive-by-troll above:
"Animal acupuncture: Acupunct Med 2011;29:21-26 doi:10.1136/aim.2010.002576 "

I'll give my two cents to see if we can have a real discussion about it. It actually does use objective diagnostics to make a case that acupuncture, when used with standard treatment, had a positive effect on reducing the recurrence of otitis in dogs.

What I immediately noticed was the small sample size (16/15), but I'll admit that it could have actual implications in indicating efficacy of acupuncture. They even spelled out the mechanisms, but I'm not qualified to judge if they are real or fake mechanisms.

Given the ability of acupuncture to modulate neurotransmitters and opioid peptides, which can in turn modulate the immune system, the immune response to acupuncture also seems worth exploring.

You really think that there are no questions about Fluoridation, and that other countries aren't running from it?

I, for one, really think that other countries are not "running from" flouoridation. Feel free to name some that are, and prove me wrong.

Do you really think that I'm the only one who wonders if vaccines or medications might have long term unknowns?

No, you're not the only one. Seveal medications have been found to have long-term problems, and are no longer prescribed for long-term use (addictive painkillers, for example), or discontinued altogether. It's hardly a novel concept. However, when you are dealing with one or a small number of doses, rather than chronic use (as you are with vaccines) the potential for long-term effects is really very tiny. Because once all the active ingredients in a vaccine have worked their way out of your system, they stop having an effect on you.

By wintermute (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

More importantly, scientific medicine gave us long life, and long life gave us uncertainty and ennui.

It is ironic that it is because of the success of modern medicine that folks have the luxury of being able to complain about it.

By Marry Me, Mindy (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

JayK,
They specify sciency-sounding mechanisms, but they haven't first established there's a real effect to explain. It's Tooth Fairy Science (tip of hat to Harriet Hall.) There's a huge mountain of negative results for accupuncture that need to be accounted for and it must be proved accupuncture has non-placebo efects before one explains it.

Heliantus @57 explains how accupuncture appears to work on pets very well. Expectation bias in pet, and/or wishful thinking in owner, equals placebo.

By Scott Cunningham (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

I live in Canada, where health care is free and doctors have to treat you whether you have money or not.

I almost never make use of doctors, but a few weeks ago I sworded myself in the left hand and required five stitches across the base of my thumb. The doctor who treated me was very compassionate and very concerned with reducing my suffering, and his needlework was most artful. I can't say the injury was a pleasant experience, and I've since learned that beer and razor sharp swords don't mix, but the treatment I received was certainly a positive one.

Let's also keep in mind that a single positive study is, by definition, cherry-picked. And that 5% of all studies of an effect which does not exist will find statistically significant results by random chance alone.

Accordingly, no single study may credibly be held up as good evidence for the efficacy of something where there is a large and robust literature demonstrating it lacks efficacy.

@Scott: The results are pretty clear and significant, even if their sample group was far too small to make a clear determination. It gives the appearance that there was a real effect to adding acupuncture to standard veterinary care. I'm mostly just playing devil's advocate, but I'm wondering how they managed to get such significant results.

@Beamup: OK, I'll grant you that, and it goes into the "small sample size" I mentioned earlier. While we may have an expectation that a replication study of these findings may result in entirely different returns, how can such a study ever find a way to be linked to the original to make sure that researchers find both in a limited search? I regularly use articles that have 1600 or more citations of the original, and I have yet to hear anyone say that I should go back through all 1600 to make sure that the study I'm using hasn't been falsified.

Today's capabilities for research sucks, it is far too easy to miss replications and responses. There has to be a better way.

David: I'm a lurker here, but I thought I'd respond to one of the things that you have said, namely that we should read about homeopathy with an open mind before coming to any conclusion.

What makes you think that we haven't done this? I know that I have a (possibly unhealthy) interest in alternative medicine; this blog is only one of several similar ones that I read regularly. I'm sure I'm not alone here in this. I (and probably many others here too) think that homeopathy is ridiculous because I know about it, not because I don't!

Do you know anything about homeopathy? How can you take seriously something so fundamentally opposed to everything that we have learned about the world in the past two hundred years, and which itself has remained essentially unchanged in that time when every area of science has changed out of all recognition? It isn't scientists, or even medical doctors (not quite the same thing) that are frightened of new ideas!

Incidentally, I've been kept alive as a Type 1 diabetic by insulin for almost 40 years now. It would be nice if this could have been prevented, but to prevent something we need to know what causes it. Are homeopaths (or other alt-medical people) doing anything to answer this question? Citations would be nice!

Wintermute, I think you'd find that with the possible exception of Spain, widespread Fluoridation of water in Western Europe is history.

how can such a study ever find a way to be linked to the original to make sure that researchers find both in a limited search?

Indeed, this is a major problem. SBM has a current post on exactly this topic:

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/the-value-of-replication/

As the example described there illustrates, even getting replications published can be very difficult. Which inevitably skews the literature. Definitely a hard problem to solve.

Ironically, CAM may well be less susceptible to this in some ways since they can twist ANYTHING around to claim that it's positive. So the negative results actually show up, though you have to read carefully to realize that they're negative ("Well looky there, random toothpick taps are just as good as acupuncture! They're beneficial too!")

Rico Suave:

It is ironic that it is because of the success of modern medicine that folks have the luxury of being able to complain about it.

Where Have I heard this rhetoric before? Oh yeh:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hGvQtumNAY

Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee (Tom Cruise): I think I'm entitled to them.
Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I want the truth!
Jessep: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. And those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives...You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.
We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!
Kaffee: Did you order the code red?
Jessep: (quietly) I did the job you sent me to do.
Kaffee: Did you order the code red?
Jessep: You're goddamn right I did!!

By augustine (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Wintermute, I think you'd find that with the possible exception of Spain, widespread Fluoridation of water in Western Europe is history.

Britain also still flouodates its water. But, yes, many European nations have switched over to flouodating salt instead of water; I would have thought it would support your argument better if they stopped flouodating altogether rather than just switching to another vector, but I'm sure you can explain the error in my reasoning?

By wintermute (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Augustine, still quick to make accusations, still slow to provide evidence.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

@ njd

What makes you think that we haven't done this?

I can tell you what David's (or any other woo-meister's) answer to that is: Because we haven't come to the same conclusions that he has. If we don't know that homeopathy works and is the best thing ever, then it's because we're ignorant -- we haven't read the right things or, if we did read them, our minds were closed.

In the case of the woo-meisters, it comes from a complete lack of self-doubt. The idea that they might be wrong is completely incomprehensible, so everyone else must be wrong. It's the same "reasoning" that gives us the Pharma-Shill Gambit. "You won't acknowledge my Truth, so you must be in the pay of Big Pharma."

Science, of course, starts from the premise that we can be (and frequently are) wrong, so we develop mechanisms like the scientific process to fix that.

@ David

I think you'd find that with the possible exception of Spain, widespread Fluoridation of water in Western Europe is history.

Yes, over there we prefer our fluor in toothpaste. At some point, in table salt, too, along with iodine, although I'm not sure if it is still the case. Not sure if the end result is that different in terms of chronic exposure. Got any data?
Actually, I'm not even sure that all the currently non-water fluoridation countries ever had a fluoridation program, so I wouldn't count them as "running away from fluoridation". Got any data?
Also, could you prove that these European countries are right and North America is wrong, and not the other way round? I would be interested in comparing cavity incidence in Europe and USA, along with any proven side-effect of fluoridation. Got any data?

Apart from this, I believe this thread started on acunpuncture. Or homeopathy. Or something else. Got any data?

By Heliantus (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

From the article:
"Yet while France was ranked No. 1 in health-care effectiveness and other major measures, the United States ranked 37th, near the bottom of all industrialized countries"

This ranks among my most hated statistics that people keep trotting out and I'd love to see it get a heaping of respectful insolence.

It is always used to imply that health outcomes in the US are poor. In reality, the rating was based on factors such as whether the wealthy paid a higher share of healthcare costs. You can argue whether or not that is a good thing, but it has very little to do with how well the healthcare services are performed.

In essence, the study ranked healthcare systems based on how close they were to the French system. Not surprisingly, France ended up #1 and the US was very different. Also, a subsection of the study found that patient satisfaction with the healthcare system was highest in the US.

BKsea

This ranks among my most hated statistics that people keep trotting out and I'd love to see it get a heaping of respectful insolence.

Well alrighty then.

In reality, the rating was based on factors such as whether the wealthy paid a higher share of healthcare costs.

You forgot something...

http://healthpolicyandreform.nejm.org/?p=2610

"It is hard to ignore that in 2006, the United States was number 1 in terms of health care spending per capita but ranked 39th for infant mortality, 43rd for adult female mortality, 42nd for adult male mortality, and 36th for life expectancy.3 These facts have fueled a question now being discussed in academic circles, as well as by government and the public: Why do we spend so much to get so little?"

I can see why it makes you so mad. There's nothing you can do about it and it flies in the face of your belief system.

By augustine (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Boring troll - seems like you are advocating a more socialized form of medicine, moving to a single payer system, etc - since many of the countries above us provide greater access to health care than the US (through single-payer government programs).

None of the countries above us on that list are doing anything differently when it comes to the actual practice of medicine on an individual level - they are, in fact, offering greater access.

So, what's the problem with that again?

A great section from the troll's quoted reference:

The current proposals for U.S. health care reform focus mostly on extending insurance coverage, decreasing the growth of costs through improved efficiency, and expanding prevention and wellness programs. The policy debate has been overwhelmingly centered on the first two of these elements. Achieving universal insurance coverage in the United States would protect households against undue financial burdens at the same time that it was saving an estimated 18,000 to 44,000 lives.4,5 However, narrowing the gap in health outcomes between the United States and other high-income countries or even slowing its descent in the rankings would require much more than insurance expansion. Given the vast number of preventable deaths associated with smoking (465,000 per year), hypertension (395,000), obesity (216,000), physical inactivity (191,000), high blood glucose levels (190,000), high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (113,000), and other dietary risk factors, there are huge opportunities to enact policies that could make a substantial difference in health system performance â and in the populationâs health.4 More investments that are targeted at promoting proven strategies â including tobacco taxation and smoking-cessation programs, screening and treatment for high cholesterol and blood pressure, banning of trans fat, creating incentives for people to engage in physical activity, and subsidizing the cost of consumption of nâ3 fatty acids â could dramatically reduce mortality and enhance the performance of the U.S. health care system.

Again troll - how is this in any way a damning statement against modern medicine? Care to elaborate?

Larry

Again troll - how is this in any way a damning statement against modern medicine? Care to elaborate?

More medicine and testing doesn't equal more health. There appears to be a point of diminishing returns.

By augustine (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

And you get that from your source how? Seems to me that it is all about the right combination of coverage, prevention and wellness - and lots of countries do it better than us, so we need to do better.

Again, what's your point? You really don't seem to have one here, since modern medical practice encapsulates more than what you say it does....And since many countries with better outcomes provide MORE health care to a greater percentage of the population than we do (like Scandanavian countries, for example) - you're last point about diminishing returns is a bunch of hooey too.

Edith, Well it is cheaper and less toxic, not much doubt there. As to Efficacy? Well we can start with all those unintentional hundreds of thousands of annual deaths from conventional medicine and work from there (Let's not forget all those other victims who got sick but survived either.). I can't prove or disprove it (neither can you), but once we get away from crisis care and surgery, I might well bet on the Homeopaths, if only because so many of them are also nutritionally oriented.

What facts did you find on Google? A bunch of Allopaths out to show that it's quackery? As far as I can see, few decent studies have been done. From what I've read, Classic Homeopathy is extremely dependent on the ability of the practitioner to match up the remedy with the patient. I have come across some studies that showed efficacy, and some that didn't. Interestingly though, in spite of the fact that good tests for the Homeopathic remedies are almost impossible for non Homeopaths to set up, I have never seen a study where the homeopathic remedy didn't at least slightly outperform the placebo. I say this is interesting BECAUSE ACCORDING TO CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES ARE PLACEBO!

David:

Well we can start with all those unintentional hundreds of thousands of annual deaths from conventional medicine and work from there

Green curry contains coconut milk. That's about as closely related to homeopathy's effectiveness as your statement.

Interestingly though, in spite of the fact that good tests for the Homeopathic remedies are almost impossible for non Homeopaths to set up, I have never seen a study where the homeopathic remedy didn't at least slightly outperform the placebo.

Name five.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Larry

you're last point about diminishing returns is a bunch of hooey too.

Sorry you feel that way. You're entitled to your opinion.

By augustine (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

BECAUSE ACCORDING TO CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES ARE PLACEBO

All caps stupid troll is trolling.

Let me fix it for you:

BECAUSE ACCORDING TO CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE, PHYSICS, CHEMISTRY, PSYCHOLOGY, PSYCHIATRY, GEOLOGY, ENGINEERING, RADIOLOGY, AUTOMOBILITRY, HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES ARE PLACEBO!

The only people that think homeopathy can have any effect beyond placebo are those like yourself, lying sacks of crap that troll science threads with absolutely no education or capability.

So boring troll - no refudiation of the fact that in countries where health care is more universally available, the overall outcomes are better?

Certainly is a case of "more health care = better results" in my book.

You're slipping - stick with your usual vaccine stuff, you seem to be out of your depth here.

@ David

... all those unintentional hundreds of thousands of annual deaths from conventional medicine ...

It was pointed out above that your "statistic" was entirely bogus. Did you think that removing the actual number made it any more believable?

BECAUSE ACCORDING TO CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES ARE PLACEBO

Shouting doesn't make something true. Evidence is how we know something is true or not. The evidence has repeatedly shown that homeopathy is no better than placebo. That's above and beyond the fact that any of the explanations of how homeopathy is supposed to work fly in the face of everything we know about chemistry and physics.

Explain this, if you will. How is it that water can "remember" the active ingredient most recently put in, but it "forgets" all the other (literal) shit that was in it before? By what physical mechanism does dilution make a potion stronger? Physics and chemistry (not conventional medicine) tell us that these things aren't possible -- so how do they work?

Larry

So boring troll - no refudiation of the fact that in countries where health care is more universally available, the overall outcomes are better?

Certainly is a case of "more health care = better results" in my book.

Uh, did you forget about that whole correlation doesn't equal causation cliche? Could you think of some other variables besides more medicine and tests that would affect your rock solid confident conclusion?

Larry, Just wondering, are you a scientist? 2 more survey questions. Are you an atheist? Have you been dx with Aspbergers?

By augustine (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Jayk, Hmmm... Lemme see now: Googled "famous people who have used Homeopathy" Many many names, among those listed:

Mother Teresa, Michael Caine, David Beckham, Boris Becker, The Royal Family, A number of Presidents Including Lincoln, Gandhi, Mark Hanna, Tony Blair, Disraeli, Douglas Fairbanks, Susan B. Anthony, Charles Dickens, GB Shaw, John D. Rockefeller, Henry James, William and Charles Mayo, Brian Josephson (Nobel Laureate in Physics), Charles Darwin, Marlene Dietrich, Chopin, Pete Townsend, Jackson Pollock, Napoleon, several Popes, and of course John Wayne.

Quite a collection of "sacks"!

Interesting that on a "science" site that almost nobody seems to have a shred of curiosity about the "other side".

Did someone say "argument ad populum" as a valid bingo entry? I think it was already used, but David just topped himself!

@David: Do you have anything useful or are all of your arguments similar to homeopathy?

Name as many people as you want David, we'll still be waiting around for your evidence for a long time.

Interesting that on a "science" site that almost nobody seems to have a shred of curiosity about the "other side".

Maybe because there isn't one? At least not one with... oh what the heck is that stuff called? Oh yeah - data.

LOL - too funny.

Here you go, you answer the litany of questions that have been posed directly to yourself by others here - including your own educational background and occupation, and maybe I'll think about answering yours.

And where did I ever say "more medicine & more tests?" See, I didn't - I said "health care" learn the difference moron.

And since boring troll bothered to quote a movie, I shall return the favor - I think this sums up the slippery aspects of boring trolls posture here:

Serenity - 2005

Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: [the Operative has politely asked Mal to return River] You have to open with payment.

The Operative: That is a trap. I offer money, you'll play the man of honor and take umbrage; I ask you to do what is right and you'll play the brigand. I have no stomach for games.

I think that sums it up nicely.

Art K, the 106,000 sticks around with good reason. Those numbers have legs in spite of what some poster says. Not much that I can find to seriously refute them. How about the other obscene numbers like medical errors, bedsores, malnutrition, death and injury from non prescription drugs, etc.?

Okay David, feeding time's over - back under the bridge.

Here you go, you answer the litany of questions that have been posed directly to yourself by others here - including your own educational background and occupation, and maybe I'll think about answering yours.

Hey! There's me up on the Facebook link!

By augustine (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

@ David

Interesting that on a "science" site that almost nobody seems to have a shred of curiosity about the "other side".

Did you miss my response to njd above, as well as the other responses the first time you accused us of not learning about the "other side"? Is your reading comprehension that bad?

We have learned a great deal about the "other side." It's been studied extensively and we've read the pro and con arguments. The fact that we don't come to the same conclusions that you have doesn't mean that we're not interested or haven't looked. It means that we have looked and the "evidence" was less than compelling.

Two people can read the same thing and come to wildly different conclusions. You read some "evidence" for homeopathy and find it convincing and conclude that it's true. I read it and find it full of logical fallacies and physical impossibilities and conclude that it's bunk. The fact that you keep repeating the argument from history, argument from popularity and argument from authority over and over again shows that you couldn't recognize a logical fallacy if it bit you in the ass. I'm sure that you find post hoc ergo propter hoc quite reasonable.

If there's some great compelling evidence that we've missed, then you need to provide it. [Citation please] as the expression goes. Telling us to go look for it ourselves is just a cop-out by you. You're the one making claims for homeopathy, you're the one who has to support those claims with evidence.

Hey - not here to fight with y'all today - but this article was sent to me as an "Oh Yeah!" and I wondered if you were up on it. Glad to see you are.

One word about France. I lived there for a while and quackery does run pretty rampant there - I hear 40% of the population uses homeopathy - and I saw all kinds of things I couldn't explain at the time. Mind you, I wasn't into quackery or cultism then, so it was just stuff that didn't make sense to me, or fit my image of a modern country:

Kids with their hair falling out, lots of people with what appeared to be polio, and other oddities.

Some of these were explained to me as the result of centuries of inbreeding in walled-in villages, but whatever it was, it creeped me out and caused me a few sleepless nights, wondering, if I should ever need medical care, would I get it there?

I told you my mother-in-law was killed by a homeopath. And then he, and my wife, went on to kill two more people before the medical authorities listened to me and put the quack out of business. I still can't tell you for sure what's going on over there, but honestly, I don't think any of us anti-quack types know for sure.

Y'all stay up,

CMC

"Not much that I can find to seriously refute them."

You could try looking at the tables and references provided in the original study.

The fatal ADR rate in the more modern studies was so low that some detected none at all, despite having similar or greater sample sizes to the earlier studies. The largest modern study found a rate of 0.06, which was up to 1/4th to 1/14th or the rates of some of the ealier studies.

The admittance for ADR rate was even worse, with a discrepency of 1 to 22 when comparing the largest modern study with previous studies (0.03 to 0.70).

So, if you're not willing to trust the studies that the 106000 deaths was based on, why are you willing to trust the study itself?

BTW, if you're going to bring bedsores and malnutrition into this, you will seriously need to set your definition of iatrogenic up front. If you're willing to count bedsores and malnutrition as medical deaths, then your defintions is probably so wide as to be both useless and extremely unfair.

I suspect, however, that is precisely why you would choose to use it.

Art K, the 106,000 sticks around with good reason. Those numbers have legs in spite of what some poster says.

There you are with the argument from popularity again. The fact that something "has legs" doesn't make it true.

"Some poster" pointed out that the method used to derive that statistic was seriously flawed. The original data was cherry-picked (they ignored other years that would have produced very different results.) Hospital conditions in the 60s and 70s were different from those in the 80s and 90s (when the "study" was done) and those are even different from conditions today. Taking data from the 60s and 70s and trying to extrapolate that to 2011 is ridiculous.

I'm not enough of a statistician to effectively critique the study, but the fact that their 95% CI for fatal ADRs runs from 0.23% to 0.41% makes me wonder about the robustness of their statistics.

@Dedj
I'm glad someone else has taken a close look at that study. Extrapolating from 78 deaths (I worked backwards from the percentages) in studies that are mostly more than 30 years old really is stretching the data past breaking point.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

@Uglyhip:

If a large and rigorous study that focused solely on treatment while ignoring patient interaction and "individualization" showed that some alternative method beat placebo, people like Orac would naturally express confusion and inqiure whether the study was flawed. How many alties would do the same thing?

Because is their positition were consistent, they would have to. They would have to say, "That doesn't make any sense, we all know that our system requires individualization of a sort that doesn't show up in tests!"

Ah, but they have an answer for that! Individualization is needed, with a few exceptions. This gives them a lovely "heads I win, tails it's a tie" situation: positive outcomes of a non-individualized trial are the exceptions which count as proof that their modality works, while negative outcomes can be dismissed because they weren't individualized.

@David

Beamup.....Try Google....with an open mind. Type in "HOMEOPATHY".

If the Internet and Google existed hundreds of years ago, you'd have been able to find plenty of people extolling the health benefits of bloodletting.

Additionally I think there's a pretty good leap of faith with the high cholesterol/heart disease connection. Is the cholesterol the cause? Maybe it's just a symptom? Better yet maybe it's an attempt by the body to heal itself?

High cholesterol is associated with atherosclerosis, and cholesterol is found in atheromatous plaque, making the theory much more than a leap of faith. Further, high blood cholesterol is associated with a high cholesterol diet, and changing the diet lowers blood cholesterol. If it was a symptom or the body's attempt at healing itself then dietary changes would have no effect.

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Lawrence,
Not to diminish anything and be too pedantic but "refudiation"? Really?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

My bad, a little under the weather today.

David, the only country that I know where people have a devotion to homeopathy is India. I am going to list some statistics here, please tell us (with adequate documentation) how they compare to the USA:

Infant mortality rate:

total: 47.57 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 51
male: 46.18 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 49.14 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 66.8 years
country comparison to the world: 161
male: 65.77 years
female: 67.95 years (2011 est.)

A little boy in my community has recently been diagnosed with a rare but always-fatal disease. There is no treatment. His parents are raising money to take him to a third-world country for expiremental stem cell treatment that they found out about via the internet - "It worked for another little girl. Her parents said she improved. Now she's going backwards and she's on her 3rd treatment but maybe this will be the one that cures it." One of my good friends is part of the team that is spear-heading the fundraising effort and so far, I've remained quiet - I don't want to sound like I'm attacking a family, and what parents wouldn't go to the ends of the earth for their child? But it pisses me off that this quack is milking them (and the wider community, who are being asked for donations) out of $50,000 per treatment, for something that is unproven and potentially dangerous (stem cell treatments in the developing world?) And the time the parents are spending fundraising - which will be continual, because they acknowledge one trip won't be enough - is time they could be spending with their child, who is only expected to live another 2 or 3 years, tops.

@ David: I hope you won't mind a question from a curious observer- which authors, researchers, practitioners, websites, or teachers do you consider to be most influencial in the formation of your own point of view about health and healthcare? Are there any websites you can recommend to those who might wish to understand your position more clearly? Thanks.

@maydijo: Unfortunately that isn't an uncommon story, at least not as uncommon as it should be. Quackwatch has a decent section on the topic:

http://www.quackwatch.org/06ResearchProjects/stemcell.html

This is another area where a real "New World Order" would be putting these people behind bars as quickly as possible, instead there is a soft shoulder shrug and glances to the ground.

Perhaps David has a homeopathic cure, like taking a piece of Lou Gherig's corpse and shaking it up in water, then diluting it again and again while thumping it against his favorite leather clad bibble.

To a large degree, the medical infrastructure we have today was designed with infectious agents in mind. Physician training and practices, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, and health insurance all were built around the model of running tests on sick patients to determine which drug or surgical procedure would best deal with some discrete offending agent. The system works very well for that original purpose, against even the most challenging of these agents

Hunh?

Yeah, we're so bad at treating chronic conditions that my father, who was overweight nearly his entire adult life, had type 2 diabetes, and had two heart attacks, the first at age 60, passed away at age 91 last year. His quality of life was just fine.

--as the taming of the AIDS virus attests.

What!? We've "tamed" AIDS? Where was I when the news release came out?

Amazing and ironic that the art of the con - ingratiate yourself with the "mark" - is now praised as a form of treatment!

I still do subscribe to The Atlantic and will be interested to read the article. Meanwhile, Orac, I can't recall at the moment: Do you have particular objections to Ornish's diet recommendations themselves, as opposed to his claims for them?

re: US health care

The differential in life expectancy, infant mortality, and other figures doesn't come from health care practices differing much in the US from the rest of the world; in that, at least, the folks arguing for the status quo are right in that the US does have excellent doctors and facilities.

The differential comes in because citizens in the bottom quintile (arguably the bottom third) of income levels can't afford to pay for that care, and therefor have levels of care and health outcomes that resemble third-world results. If you ignore the poor the US fares reasonably well in metrics (save for cost of care, which is still the world's highest*) but, in matters pertaining to public health, you can't ignore the poor.

re: homeopathy

There is no evidence that such remedies work any better than sugar pills or water that haven't been hand-waved at. Sure, some health practitioners could do better on their bed-side manners but (IMO) that's no reason to throw out the part of modern medicine that's demonstrably effective now that we're really, really good at it.

-- Steve

* Patriotic dig; if Canada spent proportionally, per capita or %GDP or whatever, on health care as much as the US we wouldn't have any wait times and a lot of other complaints about our Medicare system would vanish. Heck, I suspect we'd be using MRIs to measure shoe sizes if we poured that much into the existing system. However, we're not willing to pay that much... probably wisely, but again it's arguable.

Heck, I suspect we'd be using MRIs to measure shoe sizes if we poured that much into the existing system.

Ha! I'm old enough to remember having my feet fluoroscoped in the Buster Brown shoe store more than once!

By The Very Rever… (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Lawrence, My apologies for bringing it up. Hope you're feeling better soon.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 15 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chris, RE: India

I think India is a challenging country to use as comparison for, well, anything. They have some *very* well education portions of the population, and then, they have portions of the population that never even go to kindergarten. And these are both significant portions of the population. I've read accounts of adults who didn't even know that we've been to space (and India has their own space program), or a 7 year old that didn't know what the difference between green and purple, even in his own language (and he wasn't color blind).

So to claim that India endorses homeopathy, a qualifier as to which segment of the population follows homeopathy needs to be attached.

Was Elizabeth Blackburn actually advocating alt-med, or was her statement taken out of context and used by the author to advance his own opinion?

I agree, Jarred C. Except that the most vociferous homeopaths we encounter usually come from India or Pakistan. There are several homeopathic medical schools in India, it permeates the system. Part of their fractured medical care system. It can lead to frustrated students hoping to emigrate.

I was trying to get David to actually post something to support his claims.

Oh, and you also hit upon one my big pet peeves: the claim that India has a better system for educating engineers and scientists. Yet ignoring that a significant proportion of the population is illiterate!

The placebo effect works. It can be induced by "alternative" medicine. Or if you don't like that option there are others. Like a visit to an AMA certified doctor. What exactly is the problem?

I may be late to comment here, but let me chime in with an anecdote of my own. When I was about 8, I had really bad asthma. I think at one point I was in the hospital about once a month. I was pumped to the gills with steroids, and it was pretty rough on me. So in desperation, my mom turned to alternative medicines.

I think we tried it all: accupuncture, herbal medicine, faith healers, healing massage, air purifiers, and different forms of chinese medicine, including ground up dried lizards, and a topical treatment that severley burned a small portion of my back. We drew the line when someone suggested drinking the blood of a black dog, however.

Only one treatment was successful in giving me relief from asthma. One day my parents decided to bring me from our small town in the Philippines to the capital Manila, and seek a specialist. The good doctor prescribed what was by then becoming pretty common, the albuterol inhaler. I thought it was a miracle; one puff, and I could breathe again.

To this day, I can function without breathing issues thanks to a regular regimen of inhaled steroids (way more effective than the tablets that I took as a kid), and the occasional puff of albuterol when I feel wheezy. So please excuse me if I trust science-based medicine; and I won't buy whatever snake oil is being peddled by the alternative medicine proponents.

MO'B - no worries, just a 24hr virus (more annoying than anything else). Feeling a bit better this morning.

The placebo effect works. It can be induced by "alternative" medicine. [...] What exactly is the problem?

The problem is that you can get the placebo effect for a lot less cost than most of these "alternatives", for starters. Then there's the issue that by using PlaceboCare folks may skip MoreEffectiveCare, and thereby fare more poorly than they need to.

(That's setting aside the ethical question of whether it's okay to bamboozle your patients.)

-- Steve

David @18: The Royal Family of the United Kingdom (not England, please) are a tiny group of extremely wealthy individuals who always receive the best medical care.
Yes, the older ones use homeopathy, but they also use real medicine when they need it. For example, Edward VII had life-saving surgery for peritonitis; homeopathy didn't stop George VI from dying of cancer at only 56; neither did homeopathy cure Princess Margaret's lung cancer - conventional medicine did that. And the Queen Mother only became a centenarian thanks to having totally conventional medical treatment for breast and colon cancer; she wore a coleostomy bag for nearly 40 years, and also had a hip replacement.

Since no-one else has brought it up, I think it's worth bringing up -- given that this David fellow keeps trying to "prove" how much better homeopathy is through the number of deaths supposedly caused by medical malpractice/failure within the conventional system.

Not ONLY is this a logical fallacy ("[x] is bad therefore [y] must be good" does not necessarily follow), it also begs the question: how many people die because of a reliance on homeopathy, not so much as an absolute number, but as a percentage of those who use homeopathy for primary care? Because that is the only real way that one could legitimately compare safety and efficacy between the two systems.

And that is where yet another difference between real medicine and alt-med becomes apparent:

- The mainstream medical system keeps patient records which are accessible for study; even if it is difficult and/or the only cited study is extremely flawed, it is at least theoretically possible to work out how many people are seriously injured by medical mistakes, neglect, or side effects within this system.

- The alt-med system is under no obligation to keep accurate records, record statistics, or do patient follow-ups, and so far as I can see, the don't do it. So in response to the question "how many people are injured?" the only possible answer is "nobody knows and nobody can know, there aren't any records."

Anyone who thinks the latter system is preferable is insane.

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Also, thanks to sophia8 for adding that info about the Royal Family (I thought about it, but hadn't gotten to it), and on a side note, I would like to add that fluoridation of urban water supplies is mandatory in Ireland, and widespread in Britain. Europe relies more on fluoridated salt (still, as far as I know), but this is at least in part because of the vocal and stubborn legal opposition of anti-fluoridationists, not because of medical evidence or medical recommendations by any health board.

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

David @105:
1) Most of those people are dead; at least a couple of them died of cancer, so homeopathy didn't actually work for them, did it?
2) Which Mark Hanna? Google brings up at least a dozen of them.
3) I bet Tony Blair doesn't use homeopathy to control his tachycardia.

Can you imagine sitting next to the author of this piece in the surgery lounge in the morning without throwing up? Gawd, does he like to hear himself talk. It just screams out at you.I can't stand to be around this kind of pontificating know-it-all. And its guys like this that produced the elitist, corrupt, government-infested health care system we have today, because they have a compulsion to push their ideas onto everyone else and do so in a political manner. Imagine being on a committee with this guy.I...UUUrrrrgggle...pew! Wow. That was salty.

By teapartydoc (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

One notes that "teapartydoc" is unable to actually refute anything in this post with, oh, you know, facts, evidence, or science.

TO: Orac and Other Such Skeptics
RE: Wanna Try a Simple Test?

Something you can prove the efficacy of homeopathy in the privacy and safety of your own home.

Do much cooking? Or make your own candles? Or work with a soldering iron?

Ever get a bad burn? As in 2d Degree? Hurts. Doesn't it. Leaves a rude scare too.

Here's the test.

Go to a Vitamin Cottage or Whole Foods. In the homeopathic area, get a vial of Cantharis. Costs about $6-7. Keep it in your medicine cabinet.

Next time you get one of those burns....

[1] Take four of the 'useless' cantharis pills from the vial.
[2] Put them UNDER your tongue and hold them there. DO NOT SWALLOW them. The 'hopelessly' dilute active agent is absorbed into the blood through the thin lining of the mouth....the first part of your digestive system.
[3] Wait for the pills to dissolve.
[4] Try to avoid talking during that time.
[5] Do not eat or drink anything for 15 minutes after the pills have dissolved.

If your experience is the same as mine, the pain will dissipate in about 20 minutes. AND there will be little, if any, scar tissue.

I cook a LOT. I also make candles and work around a soldering iron. I get burned badly about once a year. The cantharis is a BIG relief to the pain. And there is seldom any scar tissue. Including a really bad burn that crisped about a square inch of flesh. In that instance, the pain came back about four hours later, but taking more cantharis the pain went away.

Hope that helps....

....but as in a discussion with Amy Alkon, there are some people who don't have the brains to see things for themselves, they are so affected by the 'modern priesthood' of the AMA.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[God made the Earth and everything therein for Man. Our problem has been in trying to figure out how to use it all....properly.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Speaking personally, I'd rather listen to or read Orac pontificate all day than have as brief an exposure to fact-impaired drive-by trolls such as the one @141.

Just sayin'.

TO: sophia8
RE: Homeopathy v. Cancer

Most of those people are dead; at least a couple of them died of cancer, so homeopathy didn't actually work for them, did it? -- sophia8

Homeopathy has it's uses. However, I'm not familiar with any homeopathic materia medica that is useful against cancer. Works rather will with viral infections in many cases, e.g., flues, viral colitis, etc. I've also found it works well in treating acute gout attacks.

RE: Cancer Cure

If you REALLY want to find an inexpensive and effective cure for cancer, I suggest you look into pawpaw.

I saw it kill an aggressive squamous carcinoma of the skin on the former president of my garden club. Not that she's 'former' because she's dead. Rather because I'M now the president.

Two years ago at a monthly meeting of the club she pointed out the cancer on her arm to me. She said she'd had such before and they always had to be surgically removed. It takes a LONG time for her to heal from such. I suggested she look into pawpaw. She got some and began taking it.

The next monthly meeting, she pointed to the cancer and it was GONE! She said that within 24 hours of taking the pawpaw, the insane itching went away. Then, over the course of the next few weeks she watched the cancer wither and slough off.

The active agent was discovered by researchers at Purdue U. back in 1997. It was found to kill cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells alone. The Big Pharms have been trying to synthesize the agent since then, but have failed miserably.

Why synthesize? Because you can't patent a naturally occurring substance and make a billion bucks off it.

Pawpaw is available on-line. However, if you have a tree nearbyâit grows in North Americaâjust go out to it, collect some leaves, dry them out, grind them up into a powder, encapsulate it and take it four times a day.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Life is good, if you know how to live it.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

God made the Earth and everything therein for Man.

Here's a song for you, Chuck.

TO: TBruce
RE: [OT] Songs

Cute. But what does that have to do with this global ecosystem? And how we use it?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Atheist, n., One praying to God that He doesn't exist.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck: "Ever get a bad burn? As in 2d Degree? Hurts. Doesn't it. Leaves a rude scare too...If your experience is the same as mine, the pain will dissipate in about 20 minutes (with homeopathy). AND there will be little, if any, scar tissue."

Um, Chuck? Superficial second-degree burns typically don't cause scarring even if you do nothing to them.

I'm sure you'd agree that God gave you brains, with the intent that you'd use them.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck: I bet that if someone snuck into your medicine cabinet and replaced your cantharis with plain sugar pills, you'd get exactly the same benefit. This is what we call a blinded trial, and it's an important step in determining if the active ingredient actually does anything.

Such pills cost about a 10th as much.

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Dangerous Bacon
RE: No Damage from Burns

Yeah....Right....

Tha's why I've got all these scars on my hands and arms from playing with fire as a young boy.

Tell us another one, Bacon.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out....]
P.S. Why is it that the skeptics all seem to be atheists?

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: winter mute
RE: Counter-Bet

I'll bet if you took cantharis after a bad burn you'd change your mind.

What' the matter? Are you:

[1] Unable to pay $7 for a simple test?
[2] Chicken?
[3] Both?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[There is none so 'blind' as he who will not 'see'.....for themselves.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Also: Holy crap, cantharis is used in the treatment of a lot of things. Sunburn, gangrene, bloody stools, kidney pains, gallstones, excessive urination, insufficient urination, sudden loss of conciousness, death-like appearance, pleurisy, haemmoraging...

http://abchomeopathy.com/r.php/Canth

I'd be fascinated to see someone have a gallstone confirmed by ultrasound, take a handful of homeopathic pills, and then have another ultrasound to see what happened to the gallstone.

That would be a fair test, right?

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

We do seem to get some interesting troll infestations.

I'll confess I'm unwilling to pay $7 for something that hasn't been demonstrated to work, and I know enough about how easy it is for me to fool myself that I wouldn't believe the results of such an unblinded demonstration with an n of 1.

Also, I'm not about to go out and burn myself just to do this test.

If it does work reliably, then there should be no problem with homeopaths demonstrating that burns treated with pills that were shown a photograph of ground-up insects heal quicker and more cleanly than burns that are not so treated, right? After all, the makers of Neosporin managed to demonstrate that very thing. How is it that they manage to use science and statistics while homeopaths are limited to anecdotes? Why can't they generate a series of anecdotes in a controlled setting, and then track how many of these anecdotes are positive or negative, and statistically analyse them?

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Um, pain is one of the classics for being most amenable to placebo, since a great deal of pain centers around subjective perception, reaction and attention.

And the vast majority of superficial 2nd degree burns resolve fully with no scar tissue. It's only when the 2nd degree burn reaches the deeper (reticular) dermis that scarring can become an issue, and I would honestly be rather surprised if you were doing that with candlemaking or even solder.

As far as convincing goes, this anecdote isn't, really. It's too subject to perceptual bias on every level. If you really wanted to be convincing, there would need to be a study which eliminated perceptual bias to the greatest extent possible, e.g. a situation where a sample of people with burns had the extent, depth & severity of the burns verified medically and separated into well-matched populations, and one set were given homeopathy, one set given standard non-narcotic pain relief, and one set given simple placebo on a double-blind basis so that neither the patient nor the researcher knew who received what -- and then data collected about pain level and recovery time. That would tell us whether homeopathy actually worked any better than placebo, and how it compares to standard treatment. So, has anyone done that?

And having said all that, if you are burning yourself badly once a year, you really need to pay more attention to what you're doing.

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

P.S. I've GOT 'blanks'. I make my own homeopathic materia medica on occasion. I'll send you some.

And by the way, speaking of the 'placebo effect', I'm familiar with in in various venues otherer then homeopathy. HOWEVER.....

I have gout. A birthday 'gift' from my Father, God rest his soul. The attacks are usually triggered by stress. However, the same homeopathic materia medica doesn't always provide the cure.

There are 46 materia medica known to treat gout. The trick is to recognize other symptoms that one is experiencing.

Case in point.....

An attack in January of 2007 would not respond to a homeopathic I used in an attack from 2003. A couple of painful days later, I noticed that I was taking very hot showers and pouring hot water over my limbs. It felt GREAT. I recognized the symptom of 'chills'. Looking up 'gout' with 'chills', I found three materia medica. I had two of them on hand in my collection. I took the one that had even more symptoms that matched what I was experiencing. Within 15 minutes the sensation of being crucified with 16-penny nails was GONE.

Three months later, I had another attack. This time, neither of the two previous cures would work. So, I spent another 24 hours in a very interesting condition. The next morning, whilte shaving and brushing my teeth, I noticed that my tongue looked like someone had painted it with whitewash. Go to the book. Cross reference 'gout' and 'heavily coated white tongue' and found a third materia medica. Took it and 15 minutes later, vast relief.

So.....tell US.....

.....how is it that the famous 'placebo effect' wasn't working if I should be able to take blanks and get the relief from the pain as if someone is driving nails into the knuckle behind my big toe? But if I have a good cross-fix on other symptoms I get relief?

Come on....use the 'brain' God gave you.....

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Also, why do yuo demand that I spend my money on trying your cure, when you're unwilling to spend mere cents on inactive sugar pills to see if they work as well?

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

whilte shaving and brushing my teeth, I noticed that my tongue looked like someone had painted it with whitewash.

Just out of curiousity, what colour toothpaste do you use?

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

@141: I would greatly enjoy "sitting next to the author of this piece in the surgery lounge" and listening to him (though he'd wonder what *I* was doing there!). My only complaint to him is that he doesn't write *enough*, though, sadly, like the rest of us (certain trolls excluded, of course), he has to earn a living instead of blogging all day.

Chuck, in your description of finding homeopathic treatments for gout, you mention things like "after a couple of days..." and "another 24 hours...". I would just like to point out that acute attacks of gout left completely untreated tend to resolve in a few days to a week.

(The danger is in how often they recur, and the lasting damage that builds up with recurrance. Speaking of which, have you ever had yourself checked for metabolic syndrome? Multiple recurrances within a year is a BAD sign.)

So anyway, ever heard of "regression to the mean"?

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Come on....use the 'brain' God gave you.....

I do. A lot. I like to think that's the reason I pick modern medicine rather than antique, obsolete quackery... because the measured results are so vastly greater and better, and because I don't have to shut off that brain in order to accept treatment.

-- Steve

.....how is it that the famous 'placebo effect' wasn't working if I should be able to take blanks and get the relief from the pain as if someone is driving nails into the knuckle behind my big toe? But if I have a good cross-fix on other symptoms I get relief?
Come on....use the 'brain' God gave you.....

1. Pain, as has been mentioned, is exquisitely responsive to placebos. You can inject someone in severe pain with saline, but if you tell them it's morphine they are likely to report great relief of pain.

2. Gout is a fluctuating illness. Symptoms come and go. You are likely to be taking a remedy when the symptoms are at their worst, and the only way from there is improvement (regression to the mean).

3. You clearly believe strongly in homeopathy and in finding the correct remedy through identifying unrelated symptoms. The "aha" element of identifying another symptom (white tongue) that led you to another remedy would strongly reinforce the effects of that belief.

4. If you know you are taking a blank, the suggestion element of the placebo effect is eliminated. You don't believe that blanks have the same effect as a "real" remedy.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Luna_the_Cat
RE: Wrong

Chuck, in your description of finding homeopathic treatments for gout, you mention things like "after a couple of days..." and "another 24 hours...". I would just like to point out that acute attacks of gout left completely untreated tend to resolve in a few days to a week. -- Luna_the_Cat

The 2003 attack lasted several months, silly cat. NOTHING in my homeopathic kit, nor anything else, would relieve it.

Where's the 'placebo effect' in THAT?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Skeptics are the latter-day Flat Earth Society]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Wow - so you suffered through months of Gout, without seeking medical attention? You do realize the long-term damage you're doing to your body, right?

The placebo effect isn't just thinking your symptoms improve. It's also your symptoms actually improving and you attributing it to the treatment, when it would have happened anyway.

As others have pointed out: You have a gout attack. You take various treatments until it goes away. You declare victory for whatever treatment you were taking at the time.

The fact that sometimes the symptoms remain, regardless of what treatments you take is strongly indicative that they actually provide no relief.

Once again, why is there no clinical evidence that homeopathic remedies have a measurable effect?

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck, if you have acute attacks of gout that last for months, you need real treatment of the underlying causes of gout. Seriously. You are in danger of kidney stones and possibly even kidney damage, if nothing else.

And the length of the attack does not mean that you did not experience placebo, or regression to the mean. After all, if that remedy hadn't coincided with relief, you would have tried another one. And later, another one. (You touch on that with the statement "This time, neither of the two previous cures would work.") And since acute attacks do tend to resolve eventually regardless, sooner or later something you took would coincide with relief, and you would go "a-ha! I have found the appropriate remedy!" This is regardless of whether the effect was real, placebo, or coincidence. Again, this is why having a test which eliminates perceptual bias is useful, and why anecdote is not convincing. The easiest person in the world to fool is yourself, and that applies to everybody, across the board. We try to design situations where fooling ourselves would have no effect on outcome, so we can see what effects are really "out there" in the physical world.

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

The 2003 attack lasted several months, silly cat. NOTHING in my homeopathic kit, nor anything else, would relieve it.

Isn't that good evidence that homeopathy doesn't work?

Gout attacks can last from hours to months, but eventually the gout will subside. You are trying different remedies throughout the attack and assume the one you are using when the attack ends is the effective one. The next time you have an attack, that remedy doesn't work, so you have to figure out which remedy will work for this attack, and try different remedies until one works. You assume this remedy was effective. But it doesn't immediately end the next attack so you try different remedies until one works...

Everything you have described about this is consistent with that scenario: attacks of differing duration, no single remedy works, the remedy that ended the last attack doesn't work for the next attack etc.

Come on....use the 'brain' God gave you.....

Quite.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Um, pain is one of the classics for being most amenable to placebo, since a great deal of pain centers around subjective perception, reaction and attention.

Could you explain the differences in the physiological mechanisms and subsequent pathways between the placebo effect and spontaneous remission? Is there an objective delineation between the two?

Are these both positive desirable effects?

Why is the scienceblogger attitude dismissive of both like the one above?

By augustine (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

K -

"The analgesic action of the homeopathic preparation Cantharis in the treatment of minor burns was assessed in a series of 34 patients. Under double blind conditions no statistically significant difference was found between Cantharis and a placebo."

BUT BUT BUT - just yesterday, David told us that...

I have never seen a study where the homeopathic remedy didn't at least slightly outperform the placebo.

Man, are you saying he was wrong?

By Marry Me, Mindy (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Everything you have described about this is consistent with that scenario: attacks of differing duration, no single remedy works, the remedy that ended the last attack doesn't work for the next attack etc.

My old adviser always used to warn, "Your explanation to fact ratio is getting dangerously high."

If you have a different explanation for every observation, then you haven't "explained" anything. Similar, if you have a different "cure" for every incidence of an ailment, then you don't have a cure at all.

By Marry Me, Mindy (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Man, are you saying he was wrong?

Certainly looks that way.
"The average percentage reduction in pain between the first and last recordings was 61% in the Cantharis group and 66% in the placebo group."

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck,

Just a question: would you rather self-treat your gout with various homeopathic remedies for days to even months, suffering in pain the whole time, or would you rather avoid it happening in the first place?

Gout is caused by excessive uric acid in the blood. It has to go somewhere, and if it gets high enough, it will no longer remain in solution; it will precipitate out. The crystals will have to end up somewhere, and many of the possible sites are excruciatingly painful. It's more common today than it used to be, largely due to an increase in affluence -- diet and age can both influence it, though not quite the way once believed -- but it is an ancient disease. Paleontologists discovered a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton which showed evidence of gout. (Gout is more common in carnivorous species.) It often occurs in conjunction with other chronic conditions, some of which can be serious. There is an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and heart disease.

I mentioned the Tyrannosaurus; the reason they know this dinosaur had gout was because of the damage the condition does to the bones. (Also to tendons, but these seldom fossilize.) This is structural damage. Surely you don't think homeopathy can treat structural damage to bones, do you? You wouldn't use homeopathy to set a broken femur, would you? If nothing else, consider what may be happening to your joints. That you keep having episodes is a sign that you have a serious underlying medical condition which is not being treated.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

I have a tiger repelling rock to sell to Chuck, and I have a special running, today only. Why should Chuck buy a tiger repelling rock? Well, ever since I started carrying it I've never been attacked by a tiger.

Have you seen that viral video where the tiger is trying to eat the small tot behind safety glass? That child did not have my rock.

Proof positive Chuck should buy my rock!

@ Chuck

I've burned myself and treated with cold water. Guess what? The pain went away in about 20 minutes. So, did I somehow ingest a homeopathic remedy, or is that pain something that just self-limits after about 20 minutes?

TO: ArtK
RE: The Cold Water Treatment

I've burned myself and treated with cold water. Guess what? The pain went away in about 20 minutes. So, did I somehow ingest a homeopathic remedy, or is that pain something that just self-limits after about 20 minutes? -- ArtK

While working in the kitchen of my church preparing a meal for about 100 people attending an Alpha Course program, someone took a roasting pan out of the oven and put it in front of me to serve from without telling me it was right out of the oven. I made the mistake of picking it up with my bare hands. The expletives I uttered were involuntary and caused a hush in the kitchen.

I didn't have my cantharis with me. I spent the next two hours with my hand in a pot of ice water.

Ever time I took it out, the intense pain returned within a matter of minutes. That's for the WHOLE TWO HOURS. All the way on the drive home the pain was with me.

When I got home I took the cantharis and, in 15 minutes, the pain was gone. There are STILL some faint scars from where the blisters formed.

Hope that helps....

....but I have SERIOUS doubts.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Life is tough. It's tougher if you're stupid. -- John Wayne]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Krebiozen
RE: Didn't Work in 2003

Isn't that good evidence that homeopathy doesn't work? -- Krebiozen

No. It's good evidence that homeopathy doesn't have a 'placebo effect'. Especially in light of my earlier reportâsee item 154 (above)âof the successes I had with it in the 2007 attacks.

RE: Ultimately....

....the skeptics are the ones losing out.

How so?

Because those of us who use it benefit from it. While those who don't 'suffer'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Life is tough. It's tougher if you're stupid.]

P.S. My working definition of 'stupid' is....

Ignorant and proud of it.

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: sophia8
RE: Homeopathy v. Cancer

Most of those people are dead; at least a couple of them died of cancer, so homeopathy didn't actually work for them, did it? -- sophia8

Homeopathy has it's uses. However, I'm not familiar with any homeopathic materia medica that is useful against cancer. Works rather will with viral infections in many cases, e.g., flues, viral colitis, etc. I've also found it works well in treating acute gout attacks.

RE: Cancer Cure

If you REALLY want to find an inexpensive and effective cure for cancer, I suggest you look into pawpaw.

I saw it kill an aggressive squamous carcinoma of the skin on the former president of my garden club. Not that she's 'former' because she's dead. Rather because I'M now the president.

Two years ago at a monthly meeting of the club she pointed out the cancer on her arm to me. She said she'd had such before and they always had to be surgically removed. It takes a LONG time for her to heal from such. I suggested she look into pawpaw. She got some and began taking it.

The next monthly meeting, she pointed to the cancer and it was GONE! She said that within 24 hours of taking the pawpaw, the insane itching went away. Then, over the course of the next few weeks she watched the cancer wither and slough off.

The active agent was discovered by researchers at Purdue U. back in 1997. It was found to kill cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells alone. The Big Pharms have been trying to synthesize the agent since then, but have failed miserably.

Why synthesize? Because you can't patent a naturally occurring substance and make a billion bucks off it.

Pawpaw is available on-line. However, if you have a tree nearbyâit grows in North Americaâjust go out to it, collect some leaves, dry them out, grind them up into a powder, encapsulate it and take it four times a day.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Life is good, if you know how to live it.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: Interesting 'Filtering'

Some time ago I replied to sophia8 vis-a-vis homeopathics vs. cancer.

Oddly enough this particular post, which mentions a successful treatment of an aggressive squamous carcinoma of the skin with pawpaw, doesn't seem to have made it past the 'moderator'.

I have to wonder just why....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth is out there.....]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck:

Expectations matter. The burns are likely of different intensity and depth (you note that the one you had trouble with despite the cold water made you swear aloud; you said nothing similar about the ones that resolved quickly).

More to the point, why should a random stranger (which is what we are to you?) believe your not-well-controlled anecdotes over lots of other studies?

Also, I have no intention of burning myself regularly in order to test any remedy, homeopathic or otherwise. You might want to consult someone about ways to reduce the number of burns, because you can't count on them all being superficial. (It may be as simple as using different pot holders, or it may mean rearranging your kitchen, slowing down, and assuming things are hot unless proven otherwise.)

Chuck,

What do you make of the study I posted a link to?
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1285626/pdf/archemed00024-0…

There were 34 people with minor burns, half took Cantharis tablets (5 in all) and half took blank lactose tablets. The ones who took the blank lactose tablets reported a (statistically insignificant) greater reduction in pain than those who took the Cantharis.

Why should I find your tales, in which you knew you were getting Cantharis tablets, more convincing than a double-blinded study in which 17 people who were given Cantharis tablets reported less pain relief than 17 people given lactose tablets? Double blinded means that none of them knew which tablet they were getting, and neither did the people giving them the tablets, by the way. Are you somehow special compared to the people in the study?

I love the irony of someone who believes in magic accusing me of stupidity, by the way. That gave me a chuck(le).

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Luna_the_Cat
RE: Underlying Cause

Chuck, if you have acute attacks of gout that last for months, you need real treatment of the underlying causes of gout. -- Luna_the_Cat

The 'underlying cause' of my attacks, as I stated earlier, are 'stress'. Just like my Father, God rest his soul. His worst attack was the day he retired from the Air Force.

My worst attack, the 2003 event, was when we pulled up our roots from Denver and moved to Pueblo in order to take care of the distaff's aging parents.

I tried homeopathy. I tried drinking lots of black cherry juice. I tried everything I could come up with, short of going to the GP for shots and other forms of AMA-sanctioned voodoo.

NOTHING worked.

Eventually, it did go away. But now my foot clicks when I walk. I'll probably have to have a big-toe replacement in due time. But I doubt if Obamacare will provide for that.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Do Luna_Cats have lunatics?

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Woo adherents may cling tightly to their beliefs because of *intermittent re-inforcement*- i.e., it *doesn't* always work. It *sometimes* works, so they persist.

In the old studies of learning, animals are rewarded following a particular action but quickly learn to stop if the rewards cease; if however, rewards had previously been *staggered* - intermittent- the animal will continue much longer without re-inforcement.

Similarly, if an action ( no matter how un-related or far-fetched the connection to the desired outcome) is followed by reward, the ridiculously inapproprate action may persist *superstitiously* over longer periods of times. Thus, the winning athlete may wear "magic" socks or "lucky" under-garments, that, frayed and worn, have long out-lived their apportioned life-span**.

Woo *afficionado*'s belief may be tracable to simple mechanisms like these: they work like "magic". Interestingly, cognitive psychologists conceptualised subjects as being "naive scientists" trying to find connections and *attributing* causality to find their way in both the physical and social worlds. People wish to "understand the causes of things"***- which often leads to amusing and paradoxical results. We are familiar with naive efforts all over pseudo-science's domain.

In short, although pseudo-scientists' beliefs may be both mind-boggling and breath-takingly incomprehensible, the ways people people succumb to magic are *not*.

** I play tennis and can assure you that this is true.
*** Virgil

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Vicki
RE: Why Take Advice

More to the point, why should a random stranger (which is what we are to you?) believe your not-well-controlled anecdotes over lots of other studies? -- Vicki

I'm not offering so much advice as I am asking people to test it for themselves.

However, the more I talk to skeptics about this, the more a body of evidence builds up that skeptics don't have the natural curiosity to test things for themselves. They 'why' of THAT is a more interesting subject than the 'why' you propose.

I guess skeptics only listen to the various 'priests' that agree with their world-view, be they medical or economic or whathaveyou. To step outside of the 'box' would be tantamount to 'anathema'.

It's sad, when you think of it. Most skeptics seem to be rather intelligent people, but they just can't quite bring themselves to the point that they'll actually....you know....QUESTION AUTHORITY. Why IS that?

It's a SIMPLE test. Anyone can do it. And what they might learn could improve their life. However, it could also destroy their carefully crafted world-view. And maybe there's more danger in that then they care to chance.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck, the underlying cause of gout is not stress! It is crystals of urate forming in your joints.

NOTHING worked.

But a moment ago you were trying to convince us that homeopathy worked.

I tried everything I could come up with, short of going to the GP for shots and other forms of AMA-sanctioned voodoo.

Let me get this right. You tried all sorts of folk remedies that didn't work. You didn't bother trying any science based medical treatments, but still believe that conventional medicine is voodoo. You believe that homeopathy, an irrational treatment based on sympathetic magic, with no evidence to support it, works, even though it failed to prevent damage to your toe severe enough to require a joint replacement.

And you accuse us of stupidity...

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

This tiger repelling rock I have should be tested, Chuck, and since you're so open minded about the efficacy of unproven and unprovable "homeopathy" I think you should be the one to go into the tiger enclosure and make sure it works. What night would be good for you so I can pencil in the video guy?

TO: Krebiozen
RE: Government Studies

What do you make of the study I posted a link to? -- Krebiozen

Ever here of the term 'Conflict of Interests'?

Tell me. Why is it that the government told all of US that drinking alcohol and eating eggs was VERY BAD for US, back in the 70s? And yet, in the 90s, it turned out that ACTUAL RESEARCH discovered that:

[1] Drinking alcohol, in moderation, was actually good against heart disease.
[2] Eating a dozen eggs a week wasn't bad for you....provided you ate a balanced diet.

You actually TRUST the government? You're a prime example of what I was referring to above when I said there's a growing body of evidence that skeptics only listen to people they want to listen to. That they can't think 'outside of the box'.

And, as for an expansion on the 'conflict of interest', the AMA would be hard pressed, financially as well as morally, if it became widely known that alternative forms of medicine actually work.

Examples of that:

[1] Chiropracty â Condemned by the AMA for DECADES, only to find out in the 80s that it actually works and is far cheaper than spinal surgery.
[2] Acupuncture â Again, condemned by the AMA for DECADES but now admitted to be effective in various applications.

Why does the AMA condemn things that actually WORK?

Three guesses. First two don't count.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[You know, Tolstoy, like myself, wasn't taken in by superstitions like science and medicine. -- George Bernard Shaw]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck - every single one of your snide little comments can be applied directly back to yourself. You do realize that if homeopathy really worked, it would have to violate the laws of physics, right?

And, if water has a "memory" why does it just remember the so-called solution & not all of the other garbage (and excrement) that has been in it?

And there is a difference between being curious about the world around us & embracing the fantastic. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence - does homeopathy have that? Hell no.

I don't need to test for myself that jumping off a building it bad for my well-being, just like I know that drinking water isn't going to cure cancer either.

The reason that skeptics are skeptical about "testing things for themselves" is that the easist person to fool is one's self. Double-blind crossover studies aren't just make-work projects, after all.

TO: Lawrence
RE: The 'Laws' of Physics

You do realize that if homeopathy really worked, it would have to violate the laws of physics, right? -- Lawrence

Heck.....the 'Laws' of Physics get re-written every year or so....as we learn something new.

Are you suggesting that Science is 'static'?

You sound like the Roman Catholic church of the Middle Ages, thinking the Earth is the center of the Universe and the Sun orbits around it.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Science is Truth. Don't be confused by facts.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Lawrence
RE: Again....

And there is a difference between being curious about the world around us & embracing the fantastic. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence - does homeopathy have that? Hell no. -- Lawrence

....with the lack of an inquisitive mind. Either that or can't afford $7 for a simple test of something to see for yourself....or something much worse.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The proof of the pudding....]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: TBruce
RE: Yeah....

The reason that skeptics are skeptical about "testing things for themselves" is that the easist person to fool is one's self. Double-blind crossover studies aren't just make-work projects, after all. -- TBruce

....Right....

Then 'skeptics' must be the most self-deluded people I've ever encountered. Perhaps something like those people who put a 'No Solicitors' sign on the door of their houses. Why? Because they're the ones most afraid they'll buy whatever someone who bangs on their door will offer.

Do your own 'double-blind' test, if you wish. Doesn't matter to me whether or not you make ANY test. You're the one who 'suffers'. And, pays through the nose for all kinds of government approved drugs.

Very interesting when all those drugs for the really bad things are 'disappearing' under Obamacare.

What you gonna do when Big-C come for you? And the government won't allow the necessary treatment.

Not that homeopathy has anything for cancer. I've not seen it. But there are other things out there....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[I HOPE you're all enjoying the CHANGE.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Nice playing with you Chuck - always interesting to poke the new troll.

Perhaps this link will help with your Gout:

http://www.bing.com/health/article/mayo-125269/Gout?q=gout

It'd be interesting to see if things ever got bad enough for you to (god forbid) actually have to see a doctor. Or would you just saw off your own toe, that's alternative, right?

You actually TRUST the government?

That study was carried out by doctors in the UK. Are you seriously suggesting that they conspired to produce a fake study that made it look as if Cantharis didn't work?

As for "thinking outside the box" and "the lack of an inquisitive mind", I experimented with homeopathy years ago (though it's embarrassing to admit that here). I even made my own remedies, diluting and succussing for hours, just out of curiosity. It didn't work, and I lost interest. Real science and medicine are far more interesting and rewarding.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

BUT BUT BUT - just yesterday, David told us that...

I have never seen a study where the homeopathic remedy didn't at least slightly outperform the placebo.
Man, are you saying he was wrong?

More likely, he's never seen that (or any other) study. That way he can honestly say that he's not aware of any disconfirming evidence.

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: Lawrence

Nice playing with you Chuck - always interesting to poke the new troll. -- Lawrence

Typical. When they can't win the 'debate', they start calling you names.

Reminds me of the Lawyers Rule....

[1] If the Law is against you, argue the facts.
[2] If the facts are against you, argue the Law.
[3] If the Law and the facts are against you, call the other side names.

The Official Rules: A Compendium of Truths and Laws for Living

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. The 'facts' is that skepticsâlike Lawrence and others hereâdon't seem to have what it takes to look for themselves.

[To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science. -- Albert Einstein]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck,

...oh, yikes, where to start....

First: Chuck, hon, stress is not a cause of gout. Stress may be a trigger of gout. Do you understand the difference between triggers and causes? The cause of gout is a buildup of uric acid in your body, but that can be either because you don't excrete enough, or because your body overproduces it (this is more rare) -- and this itself will also have an underlying cause, which could be diet or a genetic disorder or metabolic syndrome. By refusing to access any real medicical help which would address the underlying reasons of why uric acid is building up in your body, you are opening yourself up to a long-term risk from chronic inflammation and the other nasty things which will be going on underlying this symptom. I don't think you fully grasp this. Stress may bring on an attack of gout, but you need to know why your body reacts to stress by developing an excess of uric acid, because there are things you should be doing to protect against this if you don't want to shorten your lifespan.

On the other aspect of this discussion...the other thing I don't believe you fully grasp is the concept of why people here don't believe you. It isn't about "accepted wisdom" or "orthodoxies" -- most people here are perfectly willing to re-evaluate beliefs, given evidence that we need to do so. Speaking solely for myself, I have done this in the past, and have been even known to change my mind(!), for example about the efficacy of surgery on back pain. However, the key point that you keep missing is what constitutes evidence, and why.

Your anecdotes are not evidence, because pre-existing belief in the efficacy of your chosen remedy is so plainly part of your response, and yes, belief influences assessment of outcome. We ask for tests where it really doesn't matter what people's pre-existing beliefs are, because in these tests the beliefs and the measurable outcome are kept separated. Can you give some indication -- any indication? -- that you understand the logic, here?

As it stands, I'm going to join the chorus of "I'm not going to go out and burn myself for the joy of testing this." Even if I burn myself accidentally, however, I'm not necessarily going to rush out to try this, in preference to readily-available cold water and real painkillers. And, let's make this clear, it's not about "not questioning authority" -- those unfortunate enough to have been in my line management over the years would attest to the fact that I have no reluctance whatsoever to do that -- but I would like there to be some reason to believe that a new purported remedy will be better than standard simple treatment, and you have not offered this. Understanding what I do of chemistry and physiology, it is in fact very unlikely, given basic laws of physics. Lacking physiological plausibility, and corroboration from bias-free testing, it isn't convincing. That's all. It's simple.

This is not rocket science, nor is it lack of curiosity, nor is it a strict adherence to some imagined orthodoxy; it is based in an understanding of physics, chemistry and the body, the tendencies of the human mind, and what is plausible in the context of these.

...And, calling evidence-based medicine "voodoo", while ignoring the explanations of why we want certain tests for evidence, while at the same time castigating other people for supposedly avoiding any challenges to their world-view...ah, the irony. I have a brand-new titanium-alloy irony meter, fortunately, and although it overheated a bit, it survived this. But do you have an inkling of the fact that you are, in fact, protecting yourself fiercely from having your "carefully crafted world-view" challenged?

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

As the author of the Atlantic article that has Orac and this crowd so hot and bothered, let me share a few observations and thoughts that I suspect will be completely lost on you. First, it's interesting that all of you are deeply confident you know so much more than the dozens of highly credentialed, highly regarded physician-researchers I interviewed at several of the world's most renowned medical centers and academies. (I only quoted a portion of these interviews in my article, due to space limitations. And let me anticipate Orac's claim that I misquoted or distorted or spun or quoted out of context, as was his claim with my Ioannidis article, by pointing out that such claims reveal a deep ignorance of the fact-checking process that goes on at most well-regarded magazines, and especially at The Atlantic. Every single person quoted had an opportunity to correct the record ahead of time--as did Ioannidis, by the way.) These top scientists almost to a person agreed with my four main points: Most mainstream drugs don't help most patients much with chronic, complex disease; alternative treatments don't work better than placebo; alternative practitioners do a better job on average than mainstream physicians in investing time and effort with patients to get them to adopt healthier lifestyles and have better attitudes about health; and these lifestyle and attitude changes can significantly reduce the risk of complex, chronic disease as well as relieve the hard-to-treat pain and discomfort of many different disorders. All of these points are backed up by mainstream studies, aren't even all that controversial, and, as I say, are endorsed by physician-researchers whose credentials and reputations are, well, let's be charitable and say "at least as solid as," those of Orac. (I happen to agree that the Nobel Prize or any other credential or affiliation doesn't confer a monopoly on insight or the truth, but on the other hand it's genuinely shocking and appalling to me to see the combined word of so many highly regarded people dismissed with a wave of the hand.) Frankly, the unwillingness of Orac and this crowd to consider for a moment the possibility that there may be some aspect of alternative medicine other than any direct physical action from its core treatments that might be helpful to many patients, especially in light of all the evidence and widespread, highly informed opinion that this is so, perfectly embodies everything that science is supposed to oppose: closed-mindedness, deep bias, hostility to disagreement, reckless disregard for reason and evidence that don't support a favored conclusion, and a total lack of humility with regard to what one knows for sure. What you are defending here isn't science, folks--it's what I call "scienceology," a quasi-religious faith in a set of closely held beliefs that are dressed up in the trappings of science and kept immune to any counter-evidence or -opinion. When a person genuinely operating in the true spirit of science hears a counter-argument or counter-evidence, he or she thinks, "Hmmm, let me consider this carefully to see if I need to rethink or modify my position"; when a scienceologist hears a counter-argument or counter-evidence, he or she thinks, "Hmmm, what's the best way to viciously trash this so I can continue to believe in what I absolutely know to be true?" Which one applies to you, would you say? -- David H. Freedman

@chuck
Citations for your viewpoints?

I'll be waiting.

Chuck - you are a funny little diversion. There is an old saying, "keep an open mind, but no so open as to let your brain fall out."

The ludicrous nature of homeopathic claims are enough to generate skepticism - and the fact that studies have shown it to be no better than simple placebo only heightens it.

From the Gout information I was able to dig up from a simple google search, you could have saved yourself from months of agony with some pretty simple OTC solutions - or a single trip to an actual doctor.

TO: Krebiozen
RE: The Link

That study was carried out by doctors in the UK. -- Krebiozen

The link was to the US government's NIH. Don't think that they can cherry-pick the reports they want to publish locally?

Are you seriously suggesting that they conspired to produce a fake study that made it look as if Cantharis didn't work? -- Krebiozen

Did you miss that business about how the so-called Justice Department was getting gun shops to sell guns to Mexican drug criminals in order to make it look like the US was the principle supplier of weapons to the Mexican drug cartels?

And you don't believe there are such thinks as government 'conspiracies'?

And I'll not forget that you couldn't refute my reminding you of the other matters I mentioned about 'government reports': alcohol, eggs, chiropracty and acupuncture.

Trust whatever 'priesthood' you want. As for me, I believe what I 'see' for myself. And others believe me too.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories. -- Thomas Jefferson]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: novalox
RE: Missing the 'Point'?

Citations for your viewpoints? novalox

The 'citation' is what you write yourself. AFTER you take the proposed 'test' and discover for yourself.

Hope that helps.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[For more information, please re-read this post.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Do your own 'double-blind' test, if you wish.

I actually did do my own double-blind test of homeopathy, once. Not quite as rigorous as the professional studies, but good enough for a bored afternoon.

I sometimes get pretty bad headaches, so I got a supply of Natrium muriaticum, and of sugar pills. I put them both in identical, unmarked pill jars and got my wife to label them "Heads" and "Tails". When I got a headache, I flipped a coin to decide which pill to take, and kept a log of how long it took to subside. It turned out there was no difference in efficacy between the "real" homeopathic cure and the placebo.

Why are you afraid to try a similar experiment? If there's a real benefit, the difference should be obvious, right?

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

...Let me just add, the conclusion I came to regarding back surgery for certain types of back pain was that chiropracty works just as well as the surgery, because neither works.

And, Chuck, quit yawping about how people here don't like facts, and demonstrate that you are capable of understanding the facts that have been presented to you -- or at least capable of discussing them sensibly -- and trust me, you will get a much nicer reception. Precious quotations at the end of every post do not have sufficient value to replace engaging with what is being said to you.

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Lawrence
RE: Old Sayings

There is an old saying, "keep an open mind, but no so open as to let your brain fall out." -- Lawrence

Here's one back at ya....

Education replaces an empty mind with an open one.

But apparently not in all instances....{nudge-nudge, wink-wink}

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education. -- Albert Einstein]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

I kind of hope Chuck stays around. He's a lot more entertaining than the ugh troll (step up your game, augustine!). In fact, I would say he is superior since he actually takes up a positivist stance, whereas the ugh troll is a medical nihilist.

And his complete lack of irony regarding his little quotes at the conclusion of his posts... simply priceless.

Oh, and here's a direct inquiry for Chuck:

Kindly provide citations to:
- reliable evidence with regards to your claims about the AMA/US federal gov't health recommendations & subsequent corrections
- peer-reviewed papers proving your claim that the laws of physics are so reliably re-written. Last I checked, the laws of conservation of matter & energy still apply, and it is primarily these laws which dictate the physical impossibility of homeopathy

Heck.....the 'Laws' of Physics get re-written every year or so....as we learn something new.

Like, totally rewritten and turned upside-down? Newton's laws and Avogadro constant don't apply anymore? Man, someone forget to pass me the memo.

That could explain why I woke up on my ceiling this morning. Someone must have rewritten the theory of Gravity during the night.

By Heliantus (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Luna_the_Cat
RE: Missing the 'Point', Too

And, Chuck, quit yawping about how people here don't like facts, and demonstrate that you are capable of understanding the facts that have been presented to you. -- Luna_the_Cat

Where did I say any such think? Indeed. I did not.

I'm asking people to TEST facts for themselves.

Why you can't quite grasp that, and now are slipping into ad hom mode is quite an interesting thought.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out....skeptics can't 'think' for themselves.....]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

~@wintermute -- I like that, that's quite clever. :)

...on a side note, I also like your 'nym, although to start with I couldn't read any of your comments without flashing on Neuromancer and wondering who you were....

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Actually, I love the fact that he can post a pro-education quote, followed by an anti-education quote in subsequent messages. He also is a conspiracy theorist & definitely more interesting than a number of our resident trolls. If he does hang around, should make for some interesting banter.

Chiropracty â Condemned by the AMA for DECADES, only to find out in the 80s that it actually works and is far cheaper than spinal surgery.

Lie.

Acupuncture â Again, condemned by the AMA for DECADES but now admitted to be effective in various applications.

Lie.

Heck.....the 'Laws' of Physics get re-written every year or so

Lie.

Because they're the ones most afraid they'll buy whatever someone who bangs on their door will offer.

Lie.

Do your own 'double-blind' test, if you wish.

Impossible. You don't even know what double-blind means, do you? Certainly puts your childish behaviour in perspective.

You're the one who 'suffers'.

This coming from a guy who walked around with gout for MONTHS trying to figure out which bottle of water would cure him. How precious.

And, pays through the nose for all kinds of government approved drugs.

You mean like a $6 bottle of Dermoplast for when I burn myself?

Very interesting when all those drugs for the really bad things are 'disappearing' under Obamacare.

[Citation needed]

What you gonna do when Big-C come for you? And the government won't allow the necessary treatment.

[Citation needed]

Not that homeopathy has anything for cancer. I've not seen it. But there are other things out there....

Lie. They claim they do.

You're not very good at this, are you?

TO: All
RE: Heliantus

Like, totally rewritten and turned upside-down? -- Heliantus

Welcome to the comedy of the absurd. Or maybe someone hasn't been through college physics just yet.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Essay Exam Question: Define the Universe. Give two examples.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

LW:

So we would be the healthiest people in the world at low cost if we abandoned modern medicine and went with socialized homeopathic care?

In the United States, we already have publicly funded water purification programs.

@chuck

So I see that you are unwilling to put up citations for your views.

You made the claim, you provide the evidence.

TO: Stu
RE: Lie?

Lie. They claim they do.

You're not very good at this, are you? -- Stu

Look whose talking.

Go back and re-read my comment. I said I've not seen it. What others claim is another matter, so please try to refrain from putting words in my mouth.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. I HAVE seen a cure for cancer that works. But the post I put up about it hasn't made it through 'moderation'. And I have to wonder just why that is.....

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

~@wintermute -- I like that, that's quite clever. :)

No, it's incredibly basic. But it does raise the question of why homeopathy doesn't work for me, but it does work (sometimes) for you.

Care to take a stab at that?

(And Neuromancer was my favourite book, as a teenager. The 'nym has kind of stuck, though)

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: novalox
RE: What You See....

You made the claim, you provide the evidence. -- novalox

....is actually your unwillingness to step out-of-the-box and test something for yourself.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Courage is your greatest current need.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck, you're an excellent example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Heck.....the 'Laws' of Physics get re-written every year or so....as we learn something new.

Can you cite something that has been "rewritten" within the last decade? And please pay attention to the "rewritten" part. The addition of string theory and quantum physics isn't "rewriting" the laws of physics, it is merely adding to our understanding. Newton's laws are still valid for certain subsets, Einstein's relativity is still valid for other subsets. Boltzmann's constant is still ... wait for it! ... constant.

You've offered nothing of proof but anecdotal stories and faulty reasonings on a topic. You haven't offered actual evidence that you have anything substantial, just a placebo effect that you're paying money for.

Maybe next time I run a similar test, I should just have the one set of pills, and my sole criteria for efficacy should be does my headache stop before the heat death of the universe?

I bet, in that case, I'd discover that homeopathy "works".

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink
And, Chuck, quit yawping about how people here don't like facts, and demonstrate that you are capable of understanding the facts that have been presented to you. -- Luna_the_Cat

Where did I say any such think? Indeed. I did not.

Liar.

P.S. The 'facts' is that skepticsâlike Lawrence and others hereâdon't seem to have what it takes to look for themselves.

And a few more.
And completly disregarding our facts.

As an aside, "ethanol is bad for you" a gov' conspiracy, because alcohol in moderation is good? Really? Look up "binge drinking" and similar alcohol abuse, will you. You may get a clue as to why the health officials are trying for some time to convince us that alcohol is more toxic than we believe.

Yep, liar. Distorting facts for your own worldview.

OK, you are just here to take cheap shots. For all I know, you don't even have gout. Or burns.
Until you provide real data, Rule 14.

By Heliantus (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

@wintermute
"...but it does work (sometimes) for you."

Huh? Were you thinking you were responding to Chuck? I complimented your experiment design and 'nym, and I can assure you that homeopathy has never worked for me.

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Go back and re-read my comment. I said I've not seen it. What others claim is another matter, so please try to refrain from putting words in my mouth.

*rolleyes*

I guess I missed the memo that made you, oh great Chuck, the sole arbiter of what homeopathy is.

Can't even tell whether that was moving the goalposts, No True Scotsman or both.

Anyway.

Chuck, please do try to repost your link to your Cure For Cancer(TM). Make sure to include only a single link and don't swear (those are the things that will cause a post to be held up in moderation).

Heck.....the 'Laws' of Physics get re-written every year or so....as we learn something new.

Really? I suppose you can give an example? The last time I can recall a law of physics being changed was back in 1956 when the Law of Conservation of Parity was revised - not repealed. It was still a law, it just didn't work the way they had thought.

We learn new things that help clarify the details, but discoveries that make us say "oops, all that stuff we thought we knew was wrong"? Not happening.

Sadly, Chuck doesn't get critical thinking - neither how to do it, nor why it's of value.

Also, Chuck, care to address any of my other points, or is it safe to assume that you do not care to since you knew full well that you were lying through your teeth?

Huh? Were you thinking you were responding to Chuck?

My apologies. I'm sure I'd seen his name there, but the lack of a non sequiteur in square quotes should have tipped me off.

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

No, Chuck, why should I believe your random assertions over those of a woman I know and love who has tried homeopathic remedies and found they didn't work?

And why do you expect everyone to retest everything that's already been studied in the last 40,000 years? Do you spend hours lying in the sunlight with no protection, because you haven't shown for yourself that UV light and sunburn increase the risk of skin cancer? Why should you believe the government on that? Do you eat raw, unprocessed cassava, or are you taking other people's word for it that this is a bad idea? Have you personally tested the idea that touching poison ivy and consuming arsenic are both harmful?

More to the point, why are you believing a random homeopath with a product to sell? By your own arguments, you should be redoing all those "provings" from scratch. Never mind trying one alleged gout remedy after another, you should be personally testing every substance you can find to see whether it produces gout-like symptoms, do your own provings, and _then_ try your various extracts to treat your symptoms.

In the meantime, would you consider a gout treatment made from flowers?

@Stu

Probably the latter.

chuck's postings, at the most, are full of unintentional humor. I get a laugh at him, and that's about it.

TO: Stu
RE: Sorry....

Chuck, please do try to repost your link to your Cure For Cancer -- Stu

...it was a 'link'. It was a report of what I witnessed with a woman who had an aggressive squamous carcinoma on her arm. She showed it to me. It was the diameter of a BB and, from her report, had grown out of her arm about a quarter inch in one week. She said she'd had them before and they had to be surgically removed. As she's aged and slow of healing from such. I told her about pawpaw.

She got some. She took it. A month later she showed me the arm and the cancer was GONE.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[God made the Earth and everything therein for Man.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Stu
RE: ERRATA

It was NOT a 'link'. My error. My apologies.

Additionally....

....she said the insane itching stopped within 24 hours of taking the pawpaw. Then she said she watched it wither and slough off. A few days later, based on her report, what appeared to be a lymph node popped out of the site and broke off.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Seeing my error, with eye opening coffee, I begin again. -- Haiku Error Message]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

As an aside, "ethanol is bad for you" a gov' conspiracy, because alcohol in moderation is good? [...] OK, you are just here to take cheap shots. For all I know, you don't even have gout. Or burns.

Considering all the burns (while soldering? how careless are you?), the first thing that sprang to my mind was that the "gout" might actually be an ethanol-related peripheral neuropathy.

Hmm. Shockingly, it did not get censored. So, I'm sure she had that growth biopsied to confirm that it was in fact carcinoma?

TO: Stu, et al.
RE: Additionally

I refer to pawpaw. It is the North American equivalent of graviola, a broad-leaf evergreen of the Amazon rain forest. And, it has four times the active agent of graviola.

Graviola was discovered to have a compound that would kill cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells alone in vitro by researchers at Purdue U in 1997.

Here's a paper from 1997.

Since then McLaughlin has left Purdue and is working on his own. I can conjecture as to why.

After all, cancer treatment is a billion dollar industry. Why would any oncologist or radiologist give up a lucrative practice in order to open up a tea shop?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth is coming out....]

P.S. The recent reports of the 'scarcity' of cancer treatment drugs is going to force people to start looking for alternatives.

It's either that or die in agony.

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Excellent troll, Chuck! Tenacity, refusal to cite, anecdotal evidence and a sharp finish with the lymph node.

I wonder if we'll ever know who it really is that trolled this thread?

Bravo, sir. Bravo.

It feels like our troll-burden has increased lately :(

Actually, Chuckles here has been one of the more entertaining ones, because he's not quite as off his rocker as Thingy, but definitely more interesting than Augietroll.

"Frankly, the unwillingness of Orac and this crowd to consider for a moment the possibility that there may be some aspect of alternative medicine other than any direct physical action from its core treatments that might be helpful to many patients,"

Given that Orac expressly refers to the effects of the therapeutic relationship in the opening post that you are implictly claiming to have read, I would hazard to suggest that you haven't fully understood what his actual concerns are.

This does not reflect very well on you, nor does your apparent inability to appropriately construct a simple blog comment.

Chuck: There are quite a few papers on bullatacin, the compound mentioned in that press release (which is not a paper, but gave me enough to search Pubmed). Several have McLaughlin as a coauthor. Oddly, while the work is ongoing (a paper published in 2011), McLaughlin hasn't published since 1998.

That said, the question is, why do you prefer the raw fruit to the purified extract that was shown to have anticancer activity? If you're trying to convince us that plants can produce useful medicines, you're preaching to the choir: nobody here doubts that. (Nobody except possibly you, since you're advocating homeopathy, water without any molecules of the substance allegedly being used to treat the condition.)

You may recall that I suggested you talk to a doctor about a flower-based remedy for gout.

I know someone with gout: in addition to plant-based drugs, his doctor has told him to modify his diet, because there are foods that increase the risk of gout. I suspect that if you went to a doctor and said "I have gout, and I don't want to take drugs for it, what else can we do?" you could get some advice on diet.

Bear in mind: we don't want you to suffer. People here are in favor of science-based medicine because it saves lives and reduces suffering. There are known treatments for gout, which will help if not cure it.

What you are defending here isn't science, folks--it's what I call "scienceology," a quasi-religious faith in a set of closely held beliefs that are dressed up in the trappings of science and kept immune to any counter-evidence or -opinion.

Oh, dear. Whenever I hear anyone make accusations of "scientism" (or, as Mr. Freedman puts it, "scienceology"), I know I'm dealing with someone who hasn't a clue about science. Perhaps Mr. Freedman's comment rates a full response in a separate blog post for later or tomorrow. I'll see how I feel about it after I get out of work this evening.

Yes, it's a crying shame that nobody is doing research on pawpaw.

*snort*

Why would any oncologist or radiologist give up a lucrative practice in order to open up a tea shop?

You do know that a large proportion of oncologists go into the field because they watched a loved one die of cancer, right? There are lots of oncologists who would work for free, if it meant that fewer people had to go through what their children / parents / spouses / friends went through.

And what about in other countries, where doctors are paid less, and where the pharmaceutical companies have less sway? What's stopping doctors in Canada or Britain from prescribing pawpaw over surgery?

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

"@Dedj
I'm glad someone else has taken a close look at that study. Extrapolating from 78 deaths (I worked backwards from the percentages) in studies that are mostly more than 30 years old really is stretching the data past breaking point. "

In addition, it appears that they excluded studies that looked at sub-populations that were in hospital for specific drug administrations.

I would hazard to suggest that people who are in pre-planned, for a regular dose, of a regular script, possibly administered by clinical specialists with allergy and adverse reactions pre-tesing, may be much less likely to have ADR's than people who are your traditional unplanned admission patients.

In essence, they appeared to have excluded the safest sub-populations, yet still extrapolated out to the entire hospital admissions population which may have included these subpopulations.

I'll have to have a proper look at their definitions later.

TO: All
RE: The 'Name Calling'....

...,e.g., 'troll', of someone who disagrees with you is quite telling as to the 'intellectual' composition of this board. But what can one expect from people who don't have the courage to make a simple test for themselves.

In the meantime, you're all welcome to 'suffer' accordingly.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[There is none so blind as they who WILL NOT 'see'....for themselves.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Says the troll that suffered for months while trying to find the correct "magic water" solution for what is actually a very simple medically-treatable problem.

@ Chuck:

Do you simply not comprehend that "trying it for yourself" is a GROSSLY less reliable way to determine whether it actually works than the actual science? And that even if the results of such a "test" seemed to be positive, it would be meaningless because the evidence would still be overwhelmingly against any efficacy of the treatment?

THAT is the most prominent reason we refuse to do your proposed "test." It would provide no meaningful information whatsoever, no matter which way it turns out.

Mr. Freedman, the only convincing evidence that "alternative" treatments work have all been shown to be working due to the placebo effect. Which is an inherently unethical and - in most cases - fraudulent treatment if looked at from a cost of treatment vs. charges to the patient point-of-view.

@246 Chuck

Regarding "name-calling" - just so you're clear on this - nobody called you a troll because you said things they disagreed with. You only get called a troll if you refuse to fairly discuss the topic.

If you say "I believe X and here's why..." and then give evidence (real evidence, not blind assertions, anecdotes or challenges to "find out for yourself"), you won't be called one. What you have done is make unsubstantiated claims, refuse to back them up, refuse to answer specific questions, refuse to consider any point of view but your own, cherry-pick what you respond to, and generally make it clear that your only purpose is to pick a fight. That makes you a troll.

Now please, either discuss the topic reasonably or go back under your bridge.

Chuck, if you're going to hold it against us that we're unwilling to burn ourselves with soldering irons and pans in drunken stupors on as regular basis as you seem to do, AND that even if we were, we might prefer a $6 bottle of Lidocaine we KNOW will help over a $7 remedy that by your anecdotes might not even help until we get the exact right kind...

...I really don't know what to say to you other than that you are clinically insane.

Chuck, if you look on most cleaning products, you'll see warnings against mixing bleach and ammonia. Is this a warning against something bad happening, or a way of prevent you from improving your cleaning by mixing them? Is there any way of knowing this besides trying it yourself? Sure, chemists will tell you mixing them will create toxic chlorine gas, but they also say homeopathy's impossible, so what do they know?Warning: Don't try that. There are all sorts of possible reactions between ammonia and bleach, none pleasant.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

@ David Freeman

First, it's interesting that all of you are deeply confident you know so much more than the dozens of highly credentialed, highly regarded physician-researchers I interviewed at several of the world's most renowned medical centers and academies.

Argument from authority. You managed to fail right at the start of your "rebuttal." Their credentials and institutions don't make them right.

(I happen to agree that the Nobel Prize or any other credential or affiliation doesn't confer a monopoly on insight or the truth, but on the other hand it's genuinely shocking and appalling to me to see the combined word of so many highly regarded people dismissed with a wave of the hand.)

D'oh. Either the credentials and affiliation confer authority on the topic of they don't. Make up your mind which it is.

By the was, as a journalist, you should know how to use paragraphs to make your text readable. Either that or give your text to your editor before posting, if you don't understand paragraphs. Your stream of text makes you look just like half the trolls out there on the 'net. (In other words, it's not helping your case any.)

Frankly, the unwillingness of Orac and this crowd to consider for a moment the possibility that there may be some aspect of alternative medicine other than any direct physical action from its core treatments that might be helpful to many patients, especially in light of all the evidence and widespread, highly informed opinion that this is so, perfectly embodies everything that science is supposed to oppose: closed-mindedness, deep bias, hostility to disagreement, reckless disregard for reason and evidence that don't support a favored conclusion, and a total lack of humility with regard to what one knows for sure.

Run on sentence, dude. You really need an editor.

By the way, several people have posted about how we are very open to new things. We just want evidence, not anecdotes. Just because we don't come to the same conclusions that you do doesn't mean that our minds are closed. There's plenty of humility here. We're all willing to admit that we could be wrong. Are you? The difference is that we'll admit we're wrong when there's reliable evidence that we are. Woo-meisters won't admit that they're wrong despite evidence that they are.

We could make the same argument to you: Why are you so closed to the possibility that the woo you love so much is nothing more than an expensive placebo?

Chuck: "Graviola was discovered to have a compound that would kill cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells alone in vitro by researchers at Purdue U in 1997...Since then McLaughlin has left Purdue and is working on his own. I can conjecture as to why.

After all, cancer treatment is a billion dollar industry. Why would any oncologist or radiologist give up a lucrative practice in order to open up a tea shop?"

Why would a Purdue researcher give up his academic career to go work for a supplement company? Seems that's what McLaughlin did.

I love the part where McLaughlin is quoted as saying he left Purdue for Nature's Sunshine Products because they had research equipment that Purdue University's facilities couldn't match. That's a good one.

For awhile we had a supplement dealer promoting paw paw extract and McLaughlin's research on an herbalism forum I frequent, claiming great efficacy against cancer on the basis of exceedingly scanty data. It was never clear how McLaughlin might have felt about his name being used in this fashion. In recent years, I've heard more about him promoting the use of paw paw-containing head lice shampoo and pesticide sprays than anything to do with oncology.

I guess we'd have a paw paw cure for cancer already, if it wasn't for Evil Doctors And Their Corporate Masters Who Don't Want You To Know.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: By the Way....

....I was once like you about homeopathy.

My undergrad work was pre-med microbio. My GPA and skin-coloration were insufficient to get into med school in the mid-70s. Something to do with Affirmative Action. So I went into the Army as an infantry officer. [NOTE: Ended up retiring as an Airborne-Ranger LTC in '97. Hence the 'tenacity'. It's inculcated.]

At any rate, in the late 80s, my second wife, 'the witch', was wondering why I kept a pan of water under the bed in the Summer and soaked my feet in it several times before I could go to sleep. Came on from my daily multi-mile 'constitutionals'. Didn't happen in the Winter. Just the Summer. So I told her about it: the burning sensation that wouldn't let me go to sleep.

She dug out her 'books'. She asked me some questions. I answered her. She got out a vial and offered me the pills.

I 'humored' her, not expecting any positive result.

Five minutes after the pills dissolved. The burning sensation in my feet disappeared. Five minutes after THAT, I fell into the best sleep I'd had in several weeks.

After that, I wasn't quite the 'skeptic' that I had been before.

Then there was our baby daughter. She came off of breast feeding at six months. THAT NIGHT, the night after her first day of bottle feeding, we awoke to a horrific, terrified howling coming from the nursery. Our darling little girl was having 'issues' with the new 'culture' in her tummy: colic.

The Witch got out her books. Read something. Got a vial. Got some pills out of it. We had a heck of a time getting them into the baby's mouth. She didn't want ANYTHING that might add to her discomfort.

We finally got the pills in. Ten minutes later, we had our happy baby back again.

So....

.....do six-month old babies experience the 'placebo effect'? Is their mentality such? Is there any research on that?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. After THAT experience, I began pursuing homeopathy actively. Since then, I've had more success with 'issues' than skeptics experience.

Whether that's 'placebo effect' or not, is no longer the question. Rather, the benefits outweigh any other consideration.

Call me crazy all you like. Maybe I landed on my head too many times, jumping out of those perfectly good aircraft in flight. What actually WORKS is what counts.

Don't you think? Or, based on the discussion so far.....

....may you don't......

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Yojimbo
RE: Yeah....

Regarding "name-calling" - just so you're clear on this - nobody called you a troll because you said things they disagreed with. You only get called a troll if you refuse to fairly discuss the topic. -- Yojimbo

....right....

....and you're Toshiro Mifune or Clint Eastwood or Bruce Willis.

I fairly offer an opportunity for people to experience something for themselves.

They refuse.

I continue to make the same offer. To test something for themselves. By themselves.

They refuse.

So I'm a 'troll' because I keep offering something to them TO TEST FOR THEMSELVES.

This is refusing to 'fairly discuss'? That's the worst arg I've heard in all my years of judging Cross-X debate. And I've been judging such for years now. In 2010, I was one of the panel that judged the finals for Cross-X in Colorado.

If you were to try that arg in my presence, you and your coach would 'read about it' in my critique.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. I'll wager that any one of the three famous actors who played out the original Yojimbo or it's Hollywood remakes, could clean your clock. Let alone any Airborne-Ranger.

[God is alive. And Airborne-Ranger qualified. And so am I.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Can anyone say "confirmation bias and selective memory?"

TO: Dangerous Bacon
RE: McLaughlin

Why would a Purdue researcher give up his academic career to go work for a supplement company? Seems that's what McLaughlin did. -- Dangerous Bacon

Maybe he did it because of the suppression of the discover.

After all, you can't make a billion bucks off of a naturally occurring substance.

Maybe he has more integrity than the vaunted American medical-industrial complex.

Sooooo.....

.....if you know someone who's been told they've got one-foot in the 'grave' from Big-C and the vaunted American medical-industrial complex has no answer for them....short of draining their family fortune while they die in proven ineffective efforts....maybe an alternative might actually be a good idea.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The worst thing that could happen here is that someone might actually learn something.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

@256 Chuck - Thanks for making my point. Your bridge awaits you.

PS - If Messers Mifune, Eastwood, and Willis are qualified clock repairmen I'd be happy to have and of them take the job. However, I don't believe Mr. Mifune is available.

TO: Beamup
RE: Heh

Can anyone say "confirmation bias and selective memory?" -- Beamup

I can.

But I can base my 'bias' and 'memory' on this topic on personal experience.

What do you base YOURS on? What other people told you? People who might not benefit if you lost confidence in them?

Cui Bono? As the saying goes.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Keep that Trekkie mentality. It sure makes you look 'mature'.....in a certain perspective.

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

So I'm a 'troll' because I keep offering something to them TO TEST FOR THEMSELVES.

No, you're a troll because you completely ignore it when it's been repeatedly explained in detail why that has no meaning or relevance whatsoever.

I'll wager that any one of the three famous actors who played out the original Yojimbo or it's Hollywood remakes, could clean your clock. Let alone any Airborne-Ranger.

[God is alive. And Airborne-Ranger qualified. And so am I.]

And bringing that up makes you LESS of a troll somehow? You're acting like a first-grader. "I'm right because I can beat you up!" Are you going to be accusing us of having cooties next?

If I wanted to suppress a discovery, you know what I wouldn't do? I wouldn't file for a patent on it and send out press releases. Patents are publicly searchable documents, after all.

If you know someone who has been told they are dying from cancer (or any other disease) and all alt-med has to offer is expensive, unproven treatments at thousands of dollars a time, while they keep getting sicker, maybe doing something else, like seeing a real doctor, might be a good idea.

Simple question: suppose you have a disease for which there is currently no cure. You have three choices. Choice A is to go on with your ordinary life, as much as possible, as long as you can physically manage it. Choice B is to think about places you've always wanted to go, or things you've wanted to try, and start doing them, right away. Go to Paris or Waikiki or Kuala Lumpur next week. Quit your job and spend a month with your grandmother in the country. Take up skydiving. Max out your credit card on expensive restaurant meals and Broadway shows. Choice C is instead spend tens of thousands of dollars to sit in a "clinic" somewhere you wouldn't otherwise visit, to undergo unpleasant procedures that won't help any.

I would probably pick B, but I understand picking A. What I don't understand is why C suddenly becomes appealing after you learn that the FDA won't approve it and your insurance company won't pay for it.

By Vicki, Chief A… (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck, you claimed a lymph node fell out of a woman's arm. If that isn't an admission that you've been trolling, then you're loonier than I thought.

Do you know what constitutes "evidence"? It isn't anecdotal stories. So far you've made countless errors in your recounting, such as the little bit about "colic" or the "cancer" on the woman's arm. Your stories aren't adding to your limited credibility and your inability to provide even a small amount of evidence for your claims continues to mark you as little more than a troll or a mentally disturbed personality.

A small amount of research on your name indicates someone with some serious bigotry and racism issues, as well as a massive ego. What is doesn't indicate is someone that has any familiarity with education, academics, general science or any specific fields of science. In essence, you're bored and you think that your homeopathic anecdotes are somehow valuable to anyone but your peers, which appear to kick you off their sites often.

You call the commenters here "closed minded" but you seem unwilling to open your mind to the possibility that you're just full of crap and that our scientific research trumps your anecdotes.

So, Chuck, your conversive experiences are that your nostrum worked better than ice water for burns, and that your wife's nostrum worked better than water for achy feet?

What an indictment on modern medicine! I am fully convinced!

Oh, wait, that doesn't explain your baby.

Let's see, on colic:

"It is plausible, however, that anxiety may have some relationship to crying through a more circuitous route. Anxious parents are often so unsure of themselves that they jump from one calming intervention to another without doing any technique long enough for it to be effective."

So for starters, yes, the simple fact that you and your wife believed the placebo would help could reduce your baby's anxiety sufficiently to stop its crying.

There's also the little detail that colic is vague and self-limiting.

Was there any sugar in that pill?

Anyway, to address your specific question: does the placebo effect exist in infants?

Wow. I wonder if there was any relevant research done on that.

It's just all weaksauce with you, and when it is not, you lie. I've already proven that the active ingredients in pawpaw are actively being researched. Nothing conclusive yet.

We understand every single word that is coming out of your mouth. We understand every argument you are trying to make. You, however, do not understand what double-blind means and ignore every single refutation. To throw out an old, old standby: THE PLURAL OF ANECDOTES IS NOT DATA. I doubt you'll understand, because you obviously feel that your experiences, no matter how ambiguous or patently ridiculous, trump scientific research.

You are a troll because you refuse to address arguments. That is not name-calling, that is a simple statement of fact. You are, by definition, a troll.

TO: Yojimbo[wannabe]
RE: Heh

PS - If Messers Mifune, Eastwood, and Willis are qualified clock repairmen I'd be happy to have and of them take the job -- Yojimbo[wannabe]

That would make a fascinating YouTube video, their cleaning your 'clock'.

Might even make America's Funniest Home Videos grand prize.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Vegetius said: If you want peace, prepare for war. Paul the Apostle said: If you want peace, work for justice. Twenty bucks says: Vegetius kicks Paul's ass in a paint-ball fight. -- The Covert Comic]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck,

Can an infant respond to placebo? Apparently, yes.

"Impossible to make [a great deal of money] off a naturally occurring substance"? Bullcrap. They can patent genes. They patent plants and plant-derived remedies all the freaking time. The statement that they can't make money off a naturally occurring substance ignores entirely the fact that about 85% of the genuine drugs on the market -- the patented, profitable ones -- are plant-derived. This is just ignorance on your part.

And back at message #233, "A few days later, based on her report, what appeared to be a lymph node popped out of the site and broke off." -- this, I'm afraid, just doesn't happen. What it tells us is that somewhere along the line, events are being misunderstood or misreported. The most likely thing is that this was a cyst, which yes, can resolve spontaneously. But seriously, the story has roughly the same credibility as a report that I shape-change into a dragon every night and go out flying. It just does not happen in this reality.

You are getting troll-ier, I'm afraid. You've ignored very clear explanations of evidence, you ignore very clear and precise explanations of where you are (have you ever thought, just possibly) mistaken, you repeat yourself over and over without taking anything new into consideration (as if simple repetition equals accuracy), you have the conspiracy-theory thing going strong, you complain about "name-calling" all the while gleefully insulting people here, and now you are getting aggressive, with statements like "I'll wager that any one of the three famous actors who played out the original Yojimbo or it's Hollywood remakes, could clean your clock. Let alone any Airborne-Ranger."

Other people may find you amusing. I find this sadly predictable, disappointing, and rather distressingly stupid.

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Argh.

I fairly offer an opportunity for people to experience something for themselves.

Except you experiment is flawed: your test doesn't include a negative control. For all the reasons already discussed above.
So you are fairly offering people to hurt themselves for no benefit.

They refuse.

Because, as they explained to you, your experiment is flawed. There is no control for confirmation bias and other confounders.

I continue to make the same offer. To test something for themselves. By themselves.

That's still flawed. There is still no control for confirmation bias and other confounders.

They refuse.

Because it is still a flawed experiment.

If you were to try that experiment in the presence of any of my past scientific mentors, you and your coach would 'read about it' in their critique.

BTW, Yojimbo means bodyguard. That's not a tradename, so anyone can claim to be one. Even a white rabbit, so why not an anonymous blogger?

By Heliantus (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Stu
RE: Heh, Again

What an indictment on modern medicine! I am fully convinced! -- Stu

As if all my posts are to 'convince' you or anyone else of anything.

Maybe you should go back and re-read this thread.

All of my posts have been for all of you to test it for yourselves.

Your apparent refusal to (1) recognize that, let alone (2) try it, speaks volumes for your 'open mindedness'.....NOT!

You're prisoners in a pen of your own construct. And you have no one to blame but yourselves. But, instead, you blame the proverbial messenger.

You remind me of the characters in Niven and Pournelle's classic Inferno, where the protagonists attempt to tell them there is a way out of 'Hell'. But they are rejected and scorned for even suggesting such.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Hell is empty and all the devils are HERE! -- The Tempest]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

It looks like Chuck is one of those kinda guys that likes violence as a solution.

That's two threats against other posters, Chuck.

Ah, yes, the threats start. Chuck, we get it, you were once a mighty, mighty soldier. We cower in fear, and hereby admit that you are right about medical science because of it.

[God is alive. And Airborne-Ranger qualified. And so am I.]

Hold the phone. You ARE clinically insane. Is there a homeopathic remedy for that?

My GPA and skin-coloration were insufficient to get into med school in the mid-70s. Something to do with Affirmative Action.

They wanted more smart people?

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

A walk through Googleland provides some very interesting background information on our: Air Force âbratâ. Retired (reserve side) Army officer who enlisted in 1970. Evangelical christian. Undergrad work pre-med microbiology. Post-grad work in computers.

Is obviously very anti-democrat & anti-President Obama (though we could tell that by several of his posts about the health care system here).

His posting style is exactly the same on every blog that he frequent - pretty annoying after a while, especially the litany of "supposedly relevant" phrases he posts as well at the end.

And again, the trollish behaviour of refusing to listen to any facts that contradict his own "ideas or opinions" - though never provides any factual data to back up any of his assertions.

His Zoning Appeal Board colleagues must love dealing with him on a regular basis.....

TO: Heliantus
RE: [OT] As If....

BTW, Yojimbo means bodyguard. That's not a tradename -- Heliantus

....'bodyguard' is NOT a 'trade name'? Are you out of high school yet? Or are you an example of what has become of the vaunted America public education system? Such as it has become since the mid-80s.

Sakes!

I sit on a community government oversight commission. I've not seen such a STUPID understanding of English in quite some time.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Since this household gave up on television in 1997, we've acquired quite a collection of movies and classic television on VHS and DVD. We have Yojimbo, A Fist Full of Dollars and Last Man Standing in the collection.

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

All of my posts have been for all of you to test it for yourselves.

Asked and answered, troll. We are not burning ourselves for you. We're not nearly drunk enough.

Is this, at the end of the day, all you have? No evidence, no research, not even a basic explanation of HOW your magic works? Just "try it, it'll work, because it worked for me, take my word for it"?

Weak. And insane. And insanely dumb.

TO: Lawrence
RE: Creds

A walk through Googleland provides some very interesting background information on our: Air Force âbratâ. Retired (reserve side) Army officer who enlisted in 1970. Evangelical christian. Undergrad work pre-med microbiology. Post-grad work in computers. -- Lawrence

Thanks for doing the third-party establishment of my background. Much appreciated.

So....what's your point?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. You left out being the former LocSec for the Denver chapter of Mensa and the co-editor of their monthly magazine. Or maybe that wouldn't have assisted your 'agenda'.....

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Sweet so a couple of days ago we had a philosopher telling us how germ theory is wrong because it doesn't conform to some random philosophy norms.

Now we have the captain of the debate team arguing in a barely coherent fashion, with a group which includes actual scientists and doctors, that homeopathy works because he says so.

Any engineers or dentists handy to tell us how evolution can't possibly be true?

This makes me miss our fashion model / paint ball guy arguing about animal research.

*sigh*

I'm gonna leave you guys to this. This particular person is quite evidently about as responsive to argument and evidence as augustine, I get bored with this quickly, and honestly, I have only so many minutes in my life. And right now they need to be spent doing some statistical analyses for real work.

Until later,
the very occasional cat.

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Does anyone else notice that in close to 300 comments, Chuck still has not said anything at all new in response to the myriad deconstructions of his garbage?

Helpful hint: No matter how many times you repeat falsehoods, they do not become true.

But I can base my 'bias' and 'memory' on this topic on personal experience

Dude, anyone's biases and memories are based on one's personal experiences. By definition.
That was the freaking point.

That's why we want experiences designed to eliminate as much as one's personal biases as possible.

By Heliantus (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Hey he's in Mensa, you know what that means? I got CRANK BINGO WOOOOOO!!!!

P.S. You left out being the former LocSec for the Denver chapter of Mensa and the co-editor of their monthly magazine. Or maybe that wouldn't have assisted your 'agenda'.....

I can't stand MENSA. A bunch of smug, self-satisfied, self-declared genuses who use their combined brain-power to... um... well... There must be something they've achieved, right? You can't have that many geniuses in a room without them having some ideas about how to improve society, can you?

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: JohnV

Now we have the captain of the debate team arguing in a barely coherent fashion, with a group which includes actual scientists and doctors, that homeopathy works because he says so. -- JohnV

So now we have someone who either (1) can't read English or (2) much worse.

Well....let the ad homs pile up. They only mark this site as nothing but a non-scientific, e.g., science-is-truth-don't-question-it, chapel for what is politically correct. And all the congregation haven't got the courage to 'read' the 'book' for themselves....testing it for the truth of a matter.

I'm reminded of the Roman Catholic Church SO MUCH.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Oh. Yeah....

....will being trained as a Combat Engineer qualify for anything....I mean other than blowing up things?

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

"Why would a Purdue researcher give up his academic career to go work for a supplement company? Seems that's what McLaughlin did." -- Dangerous Bacon

Chuck: "Maybe he did it because of the suppression of the discover."

And maybe he did it because wearing saggy pants interfered with his brain function. We have the same evidence for both theories (none).

"After all, you can't make a billion bucks off of a naturally occurring substance."

Tell that to Bristol-Myers Squibb, which reported sales of close to that amount in just one recent year for the anti-cancer drug Taxol, based on a naturally-occurring substance from the Pacific yew tree. You could look it up, if you had that open mind which you profess to be important.

"[The worst thing that could happen here is that someone might actually learn something.]"

Or the worst thing is that we could continue to waste time battering at the fortress of your ignorance with facts and logic.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

When a person genuinely operating in the true spirit of science hears a counter-argument or counter-evidence, he or she thinks, "Hmmm, let me consider this carefully to see if I need to rethink or modify my position"; when a scienceologist hears a counter-argument or counter-evidence, he or she thinks, "Hmmm, what's the best way to viciously trash this so I can continue to believe in what I absolutely know to be true?" Which one applies to you, would you say?

-- David H. Freedman

The problem, Mr. Freedman, is that the point you raise has been studied and refuted so many times over decades; every time it's gone under impartial scrutiny alternate medicine just has not been shown to work any better than kind words and a nice cup of tea. Time and again the benefits of reiki and acupuncture and homeopathy and the rest have proved to be indistinguishable from the placebo effect. (As the stage comedian put it, alternative medicine that actually works gets called "medicine" pretty darned quickly; examples being foxglove tea (digitalis) and willow bark (aspirin) which were adopted and commercialised with blistering speed once proven effective.)

If there is new data from a study or a new controlled trial that shows real, measurable differences then I'd certainly want to take a closer look to see, at the very least, why this among all the rest found something. (Who knows?) But absent that, given only the same ol' testimonials that supported patent medicines a century ago, there are no solid grounds for changing the conclusion.

-- Steve

TO: wintermute
RE: Heh

I can't stand MENSA. -- wintermute

"Look into my eye." -- Platoon Sergeant in Aliens. [NOTE: Actually, I heard REAL sergeants say that to whinny troops complaining about some silliness. The inference being 'Do you see anybody who cares?']

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. The ad homs keep on piling up against this site.

Can't take a simple test, so the only thing they can do is stoop to ad homs.....

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

It is sad - Chuck started out with great promise. Such a rapid decline into pointless-and-boring trollism!

Yojimbo - I agree. It was fun for a bit to push his buttons, but he's a one trick pony. Perhaps he and Augie could have a good conversation with each other.

So long & thanks for all the Fish!

Can't take a simple test, so the only thing they can do is stoop to ad homs.....

I direct your attention to comment #206, where I described a simple test I made of homeopathic medicine. Just because it had a negative result doesn't mean it didn't happen. Can you explain why homeopathy works for you, but not for me? Can your open mind handle my anecdote?

Also, "ad hominem" is not a fancy word for "insult". You'd think someone who qualifies for MENSA would know that. Had I said you were wrong because you were a member of MENSA, that would be an ad hominem. But, it is not an ad hominem to say that joining MENSA is a waste of time and money, and I have less respect for someone after knowing that they've done so.

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Dangerous Bacon
RE: Perhaps....BUT....

And maybe he did it because wearing saggy pants interfered with his brain function. We have the same evidence for both theories (none). -- Dangerous Bacon

....please explain away the cure I witnessed.

And WHY after 13 years the vaunted American medical-industrial complex has not been able to synthesize a substitute for the successful killing of cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells alone.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. As we say in the Army, there's something of a 'key indicator' in all of this.....

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Okay! Okay, folks! Fun's over - back in the bus!

(What's that from?)

I also notice that Mr. "All I ask is that you try it" doesn't show any interest in trying the treatments I've mentioned for his painful, chronic disease.

Is your mind too closed to consider that something derived from crocus might help you, merely because of the amount in each dose? Why can't you consider changing what you eat?

By Vicki, Chief A… (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck, sweetheart, we get it. You are angry. Them brown people got in front of you. You are much more smarterer than all of us. We are all just doing this because we do not believe in your Lord your Savior.

We get it. You're a sad, lonely, bitter, entitled old piece of white trash that believes in fairies and magic water.

Now, please note: that was not an ad hominem. That was an insult. An ad hominem would be:

"Chuck, you cannot possibly be right about homeopathy because you believe in Jesus."

Do you see the difference? If nothing else, will you please take that away from this "discussion"?

Also, allow me to chime in on MENSA. I was asked, nay pressured to join. I attended one meeting. I have never seen a bigger collection of sad-sack self-indulgent douches lacking self-awareness, compassion and insight. Ever. I have hidden even that limited involvement with that cesspool for decades out of sheer fear of association.

I'm sure Chuck would be more than welcome in the triple 9s, too!

Are you out of high school yet? Or are you an example of what has become of the vaunted America public education system?

Actually I'm not American. I'm not even in the US. And well-spotted, English is my second language.

'bodyguard' is NOT a 'trade name'?

Anyone can use this word in non-commercial situations, right? Compared to unique names like Unilever or Clark Kent, by example. It was that I meant.
Um, maybe Tradename was not the right word to use for this. Registered name? Trademark?

But I believe you were about to tell us why we should burn ourselves and try your stuff?

By Heliantus (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: wintermute
RE: Your 'Test'

I direct your attention to comment #206, where I described a simple test I made of homeopathic medicine. -- wintermute

I sometimes get pretty bad headaches.... -- wintermute @ 206

So many comments....so little time. I feel like I expected to feel facing the Sovs coming across the intra-German border. It's what we'd call a 'target rich' environment.

Weeeeellllll.....

....you probably mis-diagnosed.

What reference were you using? Boericke? Panos? I've got about ten such references. Most of them don't do very well. I rely on Panos and Boericke.

It's complicated. Much more so than the regular vaunted American medical-industrial complex's approach that everyone is a 'round peg'. You and I are 'different' from one another. Do you experience 'gout'? If not, why not?

Heck. I misdiagnose myself at times. It's taken me over 20 years to get as good as I am today.

Hope that helps.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[You know you're getting close to the target, because they start throwing more flak at you. -- US Air Force axiom]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

And WHY after 13 years the vaunted American medical-industrial complex has not been able to synthesize a substitute for the successful killing of cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells alone.

Because it didn't work? Due to problems that we've discussed on this very site, current journal standards for publication don't encourage the publishing of negative studies or research.

Tell me, Chuck, do you understand that natural plant based medicines have to be processed and controlled for specific dosages and quantities, or do you think you just chew up a yobyob plant and suddenly you're all better? By identifying and creating a patented and protected process for manufacturing drugs from natural sources, Big Pharma does take natural compounds and creates profitable and effective medications. A specific example was shown above, a topic I'm familiar with since the discovery of the specific yew started in my state.

Do you want an ad hom? You're an ignorant ass.

please explain away the cure I witnessed

Asked and answered, troll.

#263, 264, 266.

You ARE aware that we can scroll up, right?

Do you want an ad hom? You're an ignorant ass.

Please do not perpetuate that myth. It's STILL not an ad-hom. It's an insult.

TO: Heliantus
RE: Not Really 'Here'

Actually I'm not American. I'm not even in the US. And well-spotted, English is my second language. -- Heliantus

It was coming across 'oddly'. Didn't make much sense, except in terms of what I'd been hearing from higher education reps in the commission I sit on. They were talking about how so many students coming to them from the K-12 range, e.g., out of high school, had to have remedial education in English and Math to take their level of courses.

But I believe you were about to tell us why we should burn ourselves and try your stuff? -- Heliantus

You don't have to go out of your way and DELIBERATELY 'burn' yourself. Rather, get the cantharis and keep it handy against such an incident. THEN use it.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Where ARE you? Greece? Italy? Somewhere else in the Med area?

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Can't take a simple test, so the only thing they can do is stoop to ad homs.....

Well, if you would actually say something, then there would be something to discuss. You refuse to actually discuss anything at all, in favor of mindlessly repeating the same twaddle, so there's nothing else to say other than trying to figure out why you are so completely opposed to using your mind.

You don't have to go out of your way and DELIBERATELY 'burn' yourself. Rather, get the cantharis and keep it handy against such an incident. THEN use it.

News flash: People who actually pay attention don't burn themselves on a regular basis. The only way your claim makes any sense to a non-moron is if you ARE suggesting that we deliberately go burn ourselves to no point.

Personally, the last time I got a significant burn was 4 years ago (slipped in the kitchen, grabbed out instinctively, my hand landed on the burner I'd just taken the rice off of - pretty bad).

TO: Vicki
RE: Treatments

I also notice that Mr. "All I ask is that you try it" doesn't show any interest in trying the treatments I've mentioned for his painful, chronic disease. -- Vicki

As I commented earlier.....

...."So many comments".

Maybe you should be a TAD more 'specific' as to where you mentioned 'treatments'.

RE: The Closed Mind

Is your mind too closed to consider that something derived from crocus might help you, merely because of the amount in each dose? Why can't you consider changing what you eat? -- Vicki

Actually, meadow crocus IS a homeopathic treatment for gout. But it doesn't seem to work that well for me.

As for what I 'eat'. I eat a very well balanced diet. And, my attacks are not related to eating habits. I think I've mentioned that on several occasions now. Why you don't quite 'get that' is beyond my interest.

Maybe you're 'projecting' about a 'closed mind'. Eh?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Based on all the comments here, I suspect I've got a more 'open mind' then most of the other commentors here. After all....

....I'M the one suggesting a new course.

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

"So I'm a 'troll' because I keep offering something to them TO TEST FOR THEMSELVES."

No, you are a troll because you keep refusing to accept the reasons why testing something for yourself isn't always a good, or even sane, idea.

Your total absence of faith and respect in other people is positively shocking.

Weeeeellllll.........you probably mis-diagnosed.

As opposed to the lady with "lymph nodes coming out of her arm", correct? She's cool because she used pawpaw, right?

Actually, meadow crocus IS a homeopathic treatment for gout. But it doesn't seem to work that well for me.

Okay, Chuck, I'll lay off the insults. Honest question. Why not?

TO: All
RE: 'News Flash'?

News flash: People who actually pay attention don't burn themselves on a regular basis. -- Beamup

Heh.....

....I talk with cooks, master chefs, candy makers all the time. They ALL get bad burns.

The candy maker gave me a BIG HUG last time I saw her. She was making candies for a wedding and got some soft-ball hot sugar under her thumbnail. She took the cantharis I recommended. Fifteen minutes later, she told me, she was wondering if she'd burned herself at al.

The only way your claim makes any sense to a non-moron is if you ARE suggesting that we deliberately go burn ourselves to no point. -- Beamup

Well....in a peculiar way....

....what does that statement say about YOU? After all. You're the 'trekkie'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Hold on Scotty. I've just discovered Mensa.....]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

....I'M the one suggesting a new course.

By using a 150 year old modality that has been thoroughly discredited ever since.

And WHY after 13 years the vaunted American medical-industrial complex has not been able to synthesize a substitute for the successful killing of cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells alone.

In my lab, a colleague was working on a drug which kills cancer cells and leave the other cells alive in vitro and in animal models.
When they moved onto human patients, a special side effect revealed itself: a propensity to heart attacks.

By Heliantus (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

....I talk with cooks, master chefs, candy makers all the time. They ALL get bad burns.

Do you seriously not see how stupid you're making yourself look? Really. Go back and read what you just said. "Professional cooks get burned, therefore everyone does!"

She was making candies for a wedding and got some soft-ball hot sugar under her thumbnail. She took the cantharis I recommended. Fifteen minutes later, she told me, she was wondering if she'd burned herself at al.

And the only thing we are trying to get through your deliberately obtuse skull is that the only way that would mean ANYTHING is if you compare it to:

- Not doing anything at all
- Spraying some cheap generic Lidocaine on it

But you didn't, did you?

That means that your "results" are useless. You can't even tell us HOW IT MOTHERFRICKIN WORKED.

Or can you? I double-dog dare you. Come on, Chucky, let's do this. How did it work? What, physiologically, did your nostrum actually work?

TO: Stu
RE: Insults

Okay, Chuck, I'll lay off the insults. -- Stu

They add nothing to the discussion. Just give me more incentive to be 'clever'.

RE: Why Not?

Honest question. Why not? -- Stu

No idea. But it just didn't work. Tried it in the 2003 and 2007 events. No positive benefit. However, as I pointed out earlier, there are 46 known materia medica that work with gout. The challenge is to find the proper secondary symptoms and cross-reference THOSE with the principle symptom.....the intense sensation of someone driving a 16-penny nail into the joint behind your big toe.

I couldn't identify any such secondary symptom in the 2003 incident.

As for the headaches of wintermute, @ 206 (above), he probably couldn't identify the proper secondary symptoms either. Headaches are all over the proverbial 'board' when it comes to homeopathy. Hence the 'failure'. As I've said earlier, each of us is different from the other. What works for me, might not work for you. You're 'different' than 'me'.

And therein may be the failure of all these 'tests' done by the AMA. They think we're all the same. So many 'round pegs'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Vive la difference! -- pardon my French]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Mr. Freedman, it would help in this conversation if you told us when and what were the last science classes you completed.

Plus, your wall-of-text is very hard to read: visualize paragraphs.

TO: Stu
RE: Discredited

By using a 150 year old modality that has been thoroughly discredited ever since. -- Stu

Take the 'test'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Or are you 'gutless'?

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: You're Welcome....

....to continue in your journey of suffering.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. If you have the courage to step out-of-the-box, you've been given a 'clue'.....

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck: the medicine I'm talking about for gout is called colchicine. But I Am Not A Doctor, and cannot diagnose or prescribe. All I have to offer is someone I know who benefits from it: that is to say, the same level of evidence you are asking us to accept on homeopathic treatments. Just give it a chance.

The problem with just saying you're eating a "well-balanced diet" is that the definition of that is based on averages. A healthy balanced diet for someone with gout may be different than one for people without gout (and most people don't have gout, so the average recommendations will assume the person doesn't).

By Vicki, Chief A… (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

ArtK: Thank you for the writing tips. It's true, I don't spend much time commenting on blogs, as you probably do. I'll try to remember when posting to blogs like this that a lot of the people have trouble following long paragraphs and even long sentences, as you apparently do. And if you think I failed right at my first point, how would you grade yourself for starting off your comment by misspelling my name?

TO: Vickie
RE: Colchicine [a.k.a. Meadow Crocus]

Got that in my collection.

Interesting that you should mention it. Maybe others will see it as an application of homeopathy.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out....]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Well, except for the tiny little fact that homeopathic preparations don't actually have anything in them.

Yeah, water and medicine are really the same thing.

Chuck, how many times do you thump your bible while diluting your favorite homeopathic remedies? Are you talking a 20C pawpaw or do you really go for the big guns and go for 200C? Have you ever overdosed?

My GPA and skin-coloration were insufficient to get into med school in the mid-70s. Something to do with Affirmative Action.

LOL WUT?

You freely admit your GPA was substandard, but blame affirmative action for failing to get into med school?

It's what we'd call a 'target rich' environment.

Then why do you keep missing?

....I'M the one suggesting a new course.

But it's not really a "new" course, is it?

Sorry, but while I apparently have more time on my hands than I thought (as evidenced by my reading this entire thread), I don't have the luxury or the inclination to go back and reconfirm every aspect of modern medicine.

The fact that I'd rather go out and buy a new laptop than re-invent the integrated circuit doesn't make me less inquisitive -- just someone who wants to appropriately prioritize my time.

By Danny Boy (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: JayK
RE: Bible Thumpers

Chuck, how many times do you thump your bible while diluting your favorite homeopathic remedies? -- JayK

I use the telephone directory. It's 'thicker'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. And your point is....what?

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

@ David Freedman

My apologies for missing the 'd'. People are perpetually dropping a letter from my name, so I should be more sensitive to that.

As far as being familiar with commenting on blogs or not: Clear writing is clear writing, whether here, in a magazine or in a scientific paper.

Any response to the two more substantive points in my comment? The first being your inconsistency about credentials and authority. The second being your accusation that we here are close-minded because we don't see things the way that you do.

TO: Danny Boyo
RE: Get a New Computer

The fact that I'd rather go out and buy a new laptop than re-invent the integrated circuit doesn't make me less inquisitive -- just someone who wants to appropriately prioritize my time. -- Danny boy

Poor analogy. There's a bit of a difference between re-inventing the integrated circuit and using a different form of medicine than that which is proffered by the vaunted American medical-industrial complex.

A better analogy would be whether to use Intel or Motorola chips in your computer.

Hope that helps....

...but, based on current observation....there's cause for SERIOUS doubt.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[There's no cure for 'dumb'.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Weeeeellllll.........you probably mis-diagnosed.

Ah, you think I can't tell when I have a headache. Let me assure you that they're not that subtle; I get an ache in my head.

What reference were you using? Boericke? Panos? I've got about ten such references. Most of them don't do very well. I rely on Panos and Boericke.

You're saying that most catalogues of homeopathic remedies are completely wrong, and the consumer has to figure out the few that work on their own? That does not seem like a great reference for homeopathy.

But the reference I was using was "what the homeopathic "doctor" recommended". How is a patient supposed to be able to tell a qualified homeopathic "doctor" who will prescribe stuff that actually works from the kind of quack that I evidently found myself with?

It's complicated. Much more so than the regular vaunted American medical-industrial complex's approach that everyone is a 'round peg'.

So, what you're saying is that if I did do your experiment next time I burn myself, it probably won't work, because it's not been "personalised" for me?

Actually, meadow crocus IS a homeopathic treatment for gout. But it doesn't seem to work that well for me.

Maybe if you try it at non-homeopathic concentrations, it might have a different effect? Or don't you think that changing the dosage can have any effect?

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck: "[You know you're getting close to the target, because they start throwing more flak at you. -- US Air Force axiom]"

And when all your missiles turn out to be duds and the intended target has shot you full of holes, it may be time to break off the engagement, not to mention re-evaluating the mission.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Freedman @315: Wow. Passive-aggressive much?

FWIW, I couldn't care less about your argument to authority... For me, your fail is in the intersection between these two statements:

"alternative treatments don't work better than placebo"

and

"there may be some aspect of alternative medicine other than any direct physical action from its core treatments that might be helpful to many patients"

Either there is evidence that CAM works, or there isn't. You can't have it both ways.

Parsing out the weasel words ("may be", "some aspect", "might be helpful"), we're left with your claim that despite your experts' agreement that CAM is no better than a placebo, there is "all [this] evidence" we're ignoring -- remembering, of course, this evidence has nothing to do with the "direct action" of the "core treatments".

If, as you argue, the increased benefit to patients has to do with "investing time and effort with patients to get them to adopt healthier lifestyles and have better attitudes about health", why not just advocate better training for doctors?

Why do I have to stop treating woo with disdain because its practitioners are (allegedly) more nurturing than real doctors? Why can't I just insist on more nurturing doctors?

By Danny Boy (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

P.S. And your point is....what?

The "rules" of homeopathy require a leather bound bible be used for the succession. Did you do a test that proves that the phone book is as effective in the successive process as a leather bound bible? Can you at least provide that data?

I'll try to remember when posting to blogs like this that a lot of the people have trouble following long paragraphs and even long sentences, as you apparently do.

Your copy editors must really love you with that attitude.

TO: Dangerous Bacon, et al.
RE: Heh

And when all your missiles turn out to be duds and the intended target has shot you full of holes, it may be time to break off the engagement, not to mention re-evaluating the mission. -- Dangerous Bacon

Maybe you should stop 'projecting'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[You've got to know;
When to Hold them;
When to Fold them;
And when to run.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Wow. Mocking my 'nym AND calling me 'dumb' in one post.

Nice.

A better analogy would be whether to use Intel or Motorola chips in your computer.

Actually, since even you acknowledge that these remedies we're supposed to try out for ourselves may or may not work, an even better analogy would be whether to use an Intel chip or a ham sandwich in my computer.

The ham sandwich MIGHT give me more processing power, but I wouldn't count on it...

By Danny Boy (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

@ wintermute: Most racists are a bit more subtle than Chuck.

So, his second wife "the witch" provides him with a cure for his aching feet and shoves some pills into a six month old's mouth who fortunately did not aspirate the pills. Great "treatment" of an infant who has a "new culture in her tummy". Hmm, reminds of paregoric syrup (tincture of opium/camphor) that was used for teething or colicky infants. Being that Chuck never asked "the witch" what type of pills they shoved in the infant's mouth, it could have been phenobarbitrol or other opiate...so soothing to baby...works like a charm...everytime.

"I'll try to remember when posting to blogs like this that a lot of the people have trouble following long paragraphs and even long sentences, as you apparently do."

Or you could try writing properly. You may even know of a professional writer or two who could help you out.

What you cannot do is blame your failure to write appropriately on other people.

That you failed at a task which is considered to be basic form in your job does not give much weight to the rest of your claims of having competantly and diligantly followed the more advanced processes and skills of your profession.

Hi Chuck. I've found the perfect cure for every illness known to man. It's called "stabyourselfinthenechathy".

I demand you test this. Stab yourself in the neck 20 times at least. Then tell us if it worked or not.

If you don't, you're a moron and a chicken liar who does not measure up to Magical Airborne Ranger Standards Of Toughness.

Go do it right now, Chuck. Let us know how it goes. If you don't, you're a chickenshit liar.

TO: Danny Boy
RE: Mocking? Dumb?

Wow. Mocking my 'nym AND calling me 'dumb' in one post. -- Danny Boy

Well....

....if the fhoe sits.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. I suggest you think thinks through before posting them.

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: lilady

Hardly a 'lady' at all. More like the sort of women you can see in the classic silent movie Intolerance.

Nothing to add to the discussion except args that none of the parties involved should have anything to do with the child they brought into the world.

Next her like will be calling for the killing of children. Oh. Wait. They do that already, vis-a-vis 'Planned Parenthood'.

'nuff said.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Fascinating self-identification on her part.....

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

....if the fhoe sits.
[...]
P.S. I suggest you think thinks through before posting them.

And I suggest proofreading.

Regardless, I'd like you to explain the difference between using homeopathy to cure a headache and replacing my computer's processor with a ham sandwich.

After all, the lack of evidence that a ham sandwich outperforms an Intel chip shouldn't be a hindrance to me trying it for myself, right?

By Danny Boy (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: Stu That

I demand you test this. Stab yourself in the neck 20 times at least. Then tell us if it worked or not. -- Stu

Saw this sort of comportment a week or so ago.

When this sort has nothing else to resort to, they call upon the death of the 'messenger'.

I'll tell you what. If Stu does the act first, without outside assistance. I can attempt the same....should he survive....WITHOUT assistance.

On the other hand, Stu's approach is self-destructive, whereas MY approach is self-healing.

Isn't there something of a 'difference'? Most intelligent people would recognize the stupidity of Stu's suggestion.

What's the 'Point'?

That Stu is no longer worthy of paying any particular attention. He's 'lost it'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[NEXT! -- As I say to the next 'contestant' in a round of forensics in Extemp or Original Oratory.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Danny Boy
RE: Suggestions

And I suggest proofreading. -- Danny Boy

I suggest you get some more 'experience' under your 'belt'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Based on your latest, I suspect I was jumping C130s before your father learned how to jump a prom date.

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Based on your latest, I suspect I was jumping C130s before your father learned how to jump a prom date.

Argument from Age (Wisdom), false equivalence of age and wisdom.

Bingo!

Chuckle, it's so much fun to follow your traces all over the internet (you are prolific).
Reading your latest PS statement and compare it to this one
I'm a born-again christian. And something of a 'fundamentalist' at that
you made elsewhere I see you're not only the pride of the US Army officer corps but also an outstanding example of Christian eloquence.

UpChuck @ 337:

I suspect I was jumping C130s before your father learned how to jump a prom date

More's the pity you got tangled in the shroud lines and landed hard on your head.

Easy way to explain the brain-damaged posting...

"That Stu is no longer worthy of paying any particular attention. He's 'lost it'."

Or that he's just got you to pretty much argue against yourself.

If trying it for yourself is so great, you should have no opposition to doing it yourself.

If, however, it's stupid because it's fairly obviously wrong, even though you've never tried it yourself (meaning you're basing it off of others 'testing' it before you), then it's fairly obvious that we aren't actually required to test stuff for ourselves in order to 'know'.

He got you to stitch yourself up good and proper and you fell for it like a rookie.

Go one way and you argue that anything and everything is a valid subject to test. Go the other way and we can actually believe that other people are educated, competant and capable of being trusted not to have totally screwed up.

Nice one, Stu.

P.S. Based on your latest, I suspect I was jumping C130s before your father learned how to jump a prom date.

You say that as if we were supposed to be impressed by it. It's as relevant here as the plastic trophy I got in 3rd grade for almost perfect attendance.

Understand this, if you're able: Your military experience isn't relevant to the discussion here. Bringing it up again and again just makes you sound like another blustering blowhard with nothing substantial to say. Threatening people with your supposed physical superiority just makes you sound like an impotent bully.

Your personal anecdotes about cures aren't relevant because you, like every other human on the planet, are good at fooling yourself.

"P.S. Based on your latest, I suspect I was jumping C130s before your father learned how to jump a prom date."

Presumably you didn't jump into them before performing all pre-flight maintainance and refuelling yourself.

After all, doing it yourself removes the possibility that one of those fallible 'human' things may have messed up.

Don't trust scientists to do science and don't trust ground crews to have done anything you didn't witness first hand.

@ Chuck: I don't recall ever posting any of my views on right to life, whereas you attribute your lack of qualifications for med school on your "skin colorations"..."Something to do with affirmative action".

Perhaps you want to ask "the witch" what was in those pills that you forced down the infant's throat. Also, consider yourself very fortunate that your infant did not aspirate the pills...it causes a very difficult to treat aspiration pneumonia.

Chuck really doesn't get the irony of his little taglines, does he?

It's like reading Neil Craig's XX-0 claims of victory all over again, only funnier.

@David Freedman:

I'm a fellow journalist who has done his share of science writing, some of it I dare say is pretty decent (SciAm thought so, anyway). So I want to ask you this: Do you understand what the difference between science, as a method, and the stuff like homeopathy is?

I'm not asking just to dump on you. The whole problem with homepathy and other "alternative" medicine, as has been well-said by people here, is that there isn't any explanation for how or why it works, and no evidence -- real, hard data -- that says it works any better than placebos do.

The other bit that makes science what it is -- and why we have such "faith" in it (I'll get to that in a second) is that it makes real predictions. If I give you cyanide above X dose (depending on body weight) you will die; I don't have to individualize it or guess. If I give you X dose of antibiotic (say, vanomycin) while you have the plague odds are you will live. If I give you insulin and you are a diabetic all I have to know is that you are a diabetic -- the insulin will do the rest. I do not need to guess in any of these cases. The magic water or herb-of-the-month may, in the best case, do nothing for an infection that will clear up or a diabetes case that gets a mite better because you were VERY lucky. At worst, it will kill you. The other treatments will keep you alive.

Alt-med makes no predictions. I do not know if any herbal, diluted magic water or whatever will work. There isn't even any way to tell if it is working because there is no offered physical mechanism. So why not just offer people a bit of talk and dispense with the rest?

In my very first comment I mention that if we changed the medical system to allow doctors more time with patients that might go a long way all by itself, without the woo-stuff.

And as to "faith" in science. Do you have "faith" that the sun will rise tomorrow? That your computer works? That you can't fly if you jump off a building? That's the kind of "faith" we have in science. There are real results, they can be predicted, and if the prediction is wrong you can try to come up with a better idea that works.

The other issue that you gloss over in your article completely is ethical. Let's take the idea that homeopathy does not work -- or rather, is no better than placebo. Giving someone magic bark or water or whatever-the-hell and telling them it makes them better (after taking their money) is simply unethical, especially when it might even worsen their conditions. It flies in the face of informed consent.

And no, side effects from conventional treatments are a very different animal. A good doc offers drugs and says "there will be the following side effects" and weighs that against the benefits. They will also assess whether a given medication is effective in that case. A good doc will not prescribe a drug with nasty side effects unless there is a good reason for it -- like keeping you alive. Alt-med practitioners do nothing like that. They can't. And drugs have been pulled when better treatments come along. There is a reason nobody uses cocaine anymore as a topical anaesthetic in dentists' offices.

I and others here get upset because people die when snake oil salesmen sell their patent medicines. 100 years ago they at least had the excuse of not knowing. Now you don't. Do you get it? People die. They are injured. It's bad enough when some religious parents wait for God to show up and the kid dies of an impacted bowel or are so afraid of vaccines or antibiotics that they let someone suffer through measles or scarlet fever (and maybe die as well).

But the alt-medicine crowd, by refusing to subject their treatments to the same kind of rigorous testing that other treatments get and claiming all manner of miracles, doesn't care enough to seek out what really works. They throw darts at a wall and claim victory for the few times they hit something.

It's been said to you already: this stuff either works or it doesn't. If it is no better than placebo then we can pack up the herbs, go home and get the sugar pills. It's cheaper and much less dangerous.

Did you ask how many people who relied on homeopaths for things like cancer died? You could do a pretty easy comparison of life expectancy, I expect. Was there a single case where alt-med outperformed conventional treatments by that very simple metric?

I don't get the sense that you did. Please correct me if I am wrong.

But are you getting the reason why people have a wee bit of trouble with "well, we can't say why it works, we can't even say that it does, or that it will, but what the hell let's give it to cancer patients?"

let me leave you with a bit of science based reasoning that I bet you have done in your work. Lots of politicians run around Washington. I bet when you interview them (or I would hope, anyway) that when they tell you something you look at their numbers, you try and quantify what they are talking about, you don't just say "well, the GOP/Democrats seem to work for some people so everything they say must be true." When George Bush said that he had some secret knowledge that justified curtailing civil rights, you (I hope) rightly questioned what that was abut -- you demanded a way to actually measure, with actual data, if what he was saying was so.

Alt - med gets a pass because...?

Hardly a 'lady' at all. More like the sort of women you can see in the classic silent movie Intolerance.

...says the troll who got all wound up about "name calling"...

Nothing to add to the discussion except args that none of the parties involved should have anything to do with the child they brought into the world.

Lessee.

Called you a racist? Check.
Quoted your use of the word "tummy"? Check.
Implied you were negligent in not knowing what "the witch" used to treat your baby? Check.

Nope. Nothing in there about parents shouldn't be involved with their children...

I'll tell you what. If Stu does the act first, without outside assistance. I can attempt the same....should he survive....WITHOUT assistance.

So, you insist on evaluating the results of a trial, the conditions of which you determine, before trying it yourself? Why?

I suggest you get some more 'experience' under your 'belt'.

Why the quotes? Are "experience" and "belt" euphemisms for something?

Based on your latest, I suspect I was jumping C130s before your father learned how to jump a prom date.

What, exactly, from my "latest" would lead you to suspect this?

All I'm asking is for you to explain how the complete lack of any evidence whatsoever for the efficacy of homeopathy is in any way different than the total lack of evidential support for the use of a ham sandwich in place of a processing chip.

No fair dodging the question with something like "most intelligent people would recognize the stupidity of [this] suggestion."

After all, most intelligent people recognize the lunacy of expecting a bottle of magic water to cure gout.

By Danny Boy (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: Behold the 'Irony'

Chuck really doesn't get the irony of his little taglines, does he? -- Composer99

I suspect Composer99 is 'projecting'. The sardonic taglines are meant to pique the imagination of those who have 'eyes to see'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Apparently Composer99 quite 'get it'.....

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Danny Boy
RE: It's Simple Enough

So, you insist on evaluating the results of a trial, the conditions of which you determine, before trying it yourself? Why? -- Danny Boy

I've already TRIED the homeopathic technique I've asked everyone here to try.

So....

....let's see Stu prove HIS 'technique' FIRST before asking anyone else to try it.

Get it?

Or...based on your blatant inability to follow a train of thought.....

.....I guess you don't.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Another 'rube' self-identifies.

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

I suspect one of the reasons that homeopathy still survives in the 21st century is that there are various remedies for every condition. That allows a lot of wriggle room.

With a self-limiting or fluctuating condition the practitioner can keep trying remedies until the condition resolves or subsides naturally, as self-limiting and fluctuating conditions do. The remedy gets the credit, the patient is "cured" and the homeopath gets paid.

This exploitation of regression to the mean may explain the popularity of homeopathy (and other CAM modalities) better than the placebo effect as it is commonly understood.

Here is a list of conditions that have been reported (by homeopaths) to respond well to homeopathy: anxiety, asthma, childhood diarrhea, glue ear, hay fever/allergic rhinitis, influenza, muscle soreness, pain (miscellaneous), radiotherapy (side effects), rheumatoid arthritis, tissue trauma, upper respiratory tract infections. Notice that all these are either self-limiting or fluctuating conditions.

Chuck - why is it that your gout responded to a different remedy each time? I can kind of understand why homeopaths believe that gout in different people might respond to different remedies, but within the same person?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: 'Wiggle Room'

I suspect one of the reasons that homeopathy still survives in the 21st century is that there are various remedies for every condition. That allows a lot of wriggle room. -- Krebiozen

Especially when it works.

RE: Why?

Chuck - why is it that your gout responded to a different remedy each time? I can kind of understand why homeopaths believe that gout in different people might respond to different remedies, but within the same person? -- Krebiozen

Maybe it has something to do with the different symptoms. As I explained earlier. And yet you seem to have some sort of mental-block that won't let you appreciate that.

I ask YOU....WHY IS THAT?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out....and skeptics aren't going to like it.....]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

"I've already TRIED the homeopathic technique I've asked everyone here to try.

So....

....let's see Stu prove HIS 'technique' FIRST before asking anyone else to try it.

Get it?"

If trying it for yourself is so great, then the fact that you have tried it is irrelevant to anyone else.

If other people trying it is relevant, then we can easily use other people's experience about whether or not we should 'try' something.

In essence, chuck is asking us to trust him that his testing is all well and proper, but actual trained qualified experienced teams of people are not to be trusted until we have tried something for ourselves.

At one and the same time, we are not to trust something until we have tried it for ourselves, YET we should also trust him that we should try something he has.

....let's see Stu prove HIS 'technique' FIRST before asking anyone else to try it.

No need. I just tried it for my cold. Worked like a charm.

Your turn.

In all seriousness; do you honestly not understand the reluctance to give any credence whatsoever to a remedy for which there is no empirical evidence -- for which, in fact, there can never BE any empirical evidence, by definition -- and which can only work if the current understanding of physics and chemistry is completely wrong?

As Jesse pointed out, this is about more than just waiting for the next time you get burned. People DIE because they reject treatments that have been proven to work in favor of anecdote-based claptrap, the efficacy of which no one (not even the experienced practitioner) can know. You said so yourself: "It's complicated ... Heck. I misdiagnose myself at times. It's taken me over 20 years to get as good as I am today."

(SBM doesn't always succeed, obviously, but at least the chances of success are a known quantity, and can be evaluated against possible risks.)

In other words, CAM is dangerous. Even if no one is harmed by that $7 bottle of whateveritis, the unwarranted fear and mistrust of "the medical-industrial complex" you and your ilk actively promote will cost lives.

Get it?

P.S. Another 'rube' self-identifies.

P.S. Seriously. Please read this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quotation_mark

By Danny Boy (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: Dedj

Good 'cover fire' to protect Stu's 'neck'.

However, I guess that Dedj doesn't recommend ANYTHING they've used for themselves to anyone else. That be it fine scotch, tobacco or medicine.

If they HAVE recommended anything to ANYONE, friend or foe, then their credibility just went down the toilet.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[You can fool some of the people all of the time. And all of the people some the time. But you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Good 'cover fire' to protect Stu's 'neck'.

Arrgh.

However, I guess that Dedj doesn't recommend ANYTHING they've used for themselves to anyone else. That be it fine scotch, tobacco or medicine.

But as we're all not "round pegs", why should we recommend anything to anyone else? We're all different, YMMV, etc. etc.

Chuck(le)--

Is there a list of those things I should accept/reject on faith (or on your word) and those I should try for myself? It would save a lot of time...

By Danny Boy (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: What's the 'Point'?

The point is that Stu suggests a treatment of stabbing oneself in the throat 20 times as some form of cure. And I should test it. The insinuation is that I should prove its efficacy to myself.

On the other hand, I've suggested that people try cantharis once as a cure. And I've asked others to test it. The insinuation is that they should prove its efficacy to themselves.

The big DIFFERENCE is that I've already proven my proposed 'cure' to myself.

But I have SERIOUS doubts that Stu has proven HIS proposed 'cure' to himself, let alone anyone else.

So. Stu. Show your 'courage' and try your proposed treatment on yourself. Be sure to video the test. Maybe Al Qaeda will give you an award for best beheading they've seen this year.

Regards,

Chuck(le)

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Especially when it works.

But we know from hundreds of double-blind clinical trials that it doesn't work, and that people who think it works are deluding themselves.

Maybe it has something to do with the different symptoms. As I explained earlier. And yet you seem to have some sort of mental-block that won't let you appreciate that.

Please forgive my mental block - in the system of medicine I understand to some extent gout is a single condition with a single cause, an excess of uric acid in the blood. I used to measure blood uric acid on gout patients. I used to analyze renal calculi too, which was fun. When gout patients were treated with allopurinol (which reduces the body's production of uric acid) their uric acid levels dropped and their symptoms subsided.

Does homeopathy reduce blood uric acid levels? If I took some blood from you before and after taking your gout remedy, would your uric acid level have gone down? If so, why would a remedy lower uric acid levels on one occasion but not on another? If remedies don't lower uric acid levels, what do they do to alleviate the symptoms? They clearly don't prevent gout, as allopurinol does, or you wouldn't need a toe joint replacement.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Danny Boyo
RE: A 'List'

Is there a list of those things I should accept/reject on faith (or on your word) and those I should try for myself? It would save a lot of time... -- Danny Boy

Only what you experience with your own life, boyo. And to tell ya the truth....you'll probably experience a LOT of things I never will. And visa versa. But those are things best shared over good scotch and fine tobacco.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[I cannot tell you the Truth better than you can discover for yourself.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Danny Boyo
RE: Come to Think of It.....

.....it's a LOT like discovering women.

[1] Half the 'fun' is getting there.
[2] You never REALLY 'know' a woman until you've met her in court.

Enjoy,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out.....and some people will not enjoy it at all.....]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

But I have SERIOUS doubts that Stu has proven HIS proposed 'cure' to himself, let alone anyone else.

And if I have serious doubts you have proven the usefulness of "homeopathic materia medica", how am I supposed to be confident enough to try it myself?

Did you document the circumstances of each test?

Did you keep detailed notes of how each set of symptoms responded to particular materia medica?

Did you provide a proper control group against which to evaluate the results?

Are you really this dense? Do you not see that SBM is simply a logical extension of the conditions you are demanding?

By Danny Boy (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck Pelto Said:
But I have SERIOUS doubts that Stu has proven HIS proposed 'cure' to himself, let alone anyone else.

And I have SERIOUS doubts that your homeopathy works.

Also, why you were out goofing around jumping your C130s (couldn't you have been doing something more productive than wasting tax payers money?), I was out in a warzone, disrupting enemy battle plans, rescuing people, and saving lives (US Army). There. Does that make me more qualified to speak on this subject, since I have better military experience than you? No?

Ok, how about the fact that I'm a toxicologist, with degrees in chemistry and toxicology (earned after my military career). Homeopathy does not work, plain and simple. Water does not have memory, plain and simple. If you think that taking homeopathic preparations helps you, then you are fooling yourself, plain and simple.

It's like when you're driving down the road on a hot day, and up ahead you see a shimmer, and think, "there must be a large puddle of water up there," but you were just fooling yourself with an optical illusion, because there really isn't a large puddle, it's just the heat off the pavement. Likewise, homeopathy doesn't work. You're just creating an illusion, where you believe really hard that your symptoms have gone away; or, conversely, you were imagining this particular bout of symptoms, and your magical remedy made your imagined symptoms go away. Either way, it's all in your head. It's a mental illusion. And you are allowing yourself to be tricked.

I swear, if you applied your logic with homeopathy to your military career, then I fear for those under your command. They must have had one hell of a shitty life working under you.

And remember: Age, Wealth, and Rank do not determine Intelligence or Competence.

Mr. Freedman:

I'd like to echo Danny Boy's comment up at #325. Please reconcile these two statements:

"alternative treatments don't work better than placebo"

and

"there may be some aspect of alternative medicine other than any direct physical action from its core treatments that might be helpful to many patients"

Please also explain how your four main points favor CAM over medicine with enhanced patient interaction.

Well, I've tried Bach Rescue Remedy (5X miscellany) for an anxiety attack. No calming effect whatever. Given that this is an 'acute' situation, and that a 'carousel' of homeopathic nostrums is apparently required (e.g., 'gout'), what should be my approach, 'Chuck'? Do 'spell out' your reasoning.

TO: Danny Boyo
RE: Proof

Silly boyo.....

...you have trouble reading English?

I've offered you proof. Proof you can experience for yourself. And it won't cost you as much as a bottle of aspirin.

What's the matter? No 'gonads'?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Courage is your greatest current need.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Get Bach
RE: Scotch & Tobacco

Been living on such since 1970. When I took up jumping out of perfectly good aircraft in flight. Since then I've expanded my 'interests' to martinis, fine food and cinema....as well as women.

Tastes that are acquired and appreciated with life.

As the old adage goes....

You haven't lived, until you've almost died.

And that is not merely an adage. It's a truism.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[If you had a 'life' in the first place, you'll never have a 'mid-life crisis'.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Jarred C
RE: Heh

And I have SERIOUS doubts that your homeopathy works -- Jarred C

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." -- Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind

If you had the synapses necessary to follow this thread, you'd have avoided embarrassing yourself.

This is a self-test situation. You have the opportunity to prove it to YOURSELF.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Kids!!!!!!.......]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Get Bach
RE: No

I meant EXACTLY what I said.

You OBVIOUSLY have a LOT to learn about living.

I recommend you visit your local Army recruiter and volunteer to go Airborne-Ranger. THEN, should you survive the training, you'll appreciate the sentiment I expressed earlier.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Life is 'boot camp'. We are all expected to go out and be heroes.[]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

P.S. Actually.....

....I think 'pot-heads' would be more 'open minded' than THIS 'lot'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Education is supposed to replace an empty mind with an open one. Apparently, that is not the 'norm' these days.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: Danny Boyo's 'Args'

This is all so much twaddle. Obviously, Danny Boy lacks the gonads to test something for himself. Lazy character that heâand a lot of others around hereâis don't have the necessary intellectual curiosity to test anything for themselves.

As my Father, God rest his soul, would say....

You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think.

Oh well. One can cast their 'pearls' before 'swine'. And look what it gets you.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Cast not your pearls before swine, lest they tread on them and rend you. -- Some Wag, about 2000 years ago.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck, I'm waiting here. I was 'open-minded' and 'tried it out'. Why is your anecdote better than mine?

@Chuck:

Lets say I tried your proposed experiment, and after taking the homeopathic remedy my pain didn't go away. Would that, in and of itself, be evidence that homeopathy doesn't work? No. So, with the experiment you're proposing:

* Take remedy, pain remains -> says nothing about homeopathy
* Take remedy, pain goes away -> homeopathy works

A "heads I win, tails it's a tie" experiment like that is worthless.

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuckie:

No comment on how I'm supposed to be able to tell the difference between homeopathic pharmacopoeia that actually work, and those that were just written as a joke? Or how I'm supposed to be able to find a homeopathic "doctor" who knows how to diagnose a headache?

Given that you and I are different people, and homeopathic remedies need to be individualised for every patient (every occurrence, even), if I take your burn remedy, why should I expect it to work for me? Shouldn't I need to take something completely different?

Assuming that my headaches really were headaches, and that the "correct" nostrum was used, why didn't homeopathic remedies do any better than sugar pills? And, given that aspirin (made from a plant! And one of the most profitable drugs of all time!) is significantly more effective, both for me personally and for actual scientists in lab coats, why shouldn't I choose aspirin?

By wintermute (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

I've offered you proof. Proof you can experience for yourself. And it won't cost you as much as a bottle of aspirin.

What's the matter? No 'gonads'?

1) "Hey, drinking magic potions cured me (sometimes) but it might or might not work for you," doesn't meet any definition of "proof" of which I'm aware.

2) You're paying more than $7 for a bottle of aspirin? Where do you shop?

3) I have asked you (repeatedly) to explain why not trying homeopathy makes one "close-minded", while not using a ham sandwich as a core processor is just common sense.

Both propositions have exactly the same amount of scientific evidence behind them. What makes homeopathy different?

What's the matter? No gonads?

By Danny Boy (not verified) on 16 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck said:

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." -- Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind

If you had the synapses necessary to follow this thread, you'd have avoided embarrassing yourself.

This is a self-test situation. You have the opportunity to prove it to YOURSELF.

You don't give a damn? Well, perhaps that's your problem. You should start giving a damn. Maybe then you'll actually use that brain your species evolved. Homeopathy does not work, period. There is no aspect of it that does work. Like does not cure like. Period. Things that cause rashes will not cure rashes. Things that cause headaches will not cure headaches. Things that cause burns will not cure burns. Water does not have memory. Period.

How much more simple can I get for you? Are you a retard (if so, well, then I take back everything I've said, as you couldn't possibly understand)? How did you get into the military with that mental capacity of yours?

It does not "work for you." At all. You are either allowing yourself to be tricked by an illusion, or you are lying. Those are your only two choices. There are no other choices. This is not a false dichotomy.

As for testing things for myself. No. Not at all. I test things on animals first (with approval of an animal ethics board). Then, I'll do clinical trials, and test it on humans (after approval from a human ethics board). Homeopathy has not done any of this. There are no efficacy testings for it, there are no safety testing for it. There's no LD50 number for any homeopathic "remedy." (Remember, folks, EVERYTHING is toxic at a certain dose). And, most importantly, there is no mechanism of action. At all. End of story. I do not take any medicine that I do not know the mechanism of action, or, at the very least, the mechanism of removal from the body.

If you make the claim that it works, then provide the t1/2 value, the Km and Vmax values, and the LD50 values. What's that? You don't have them? That's right, because homeopathy is bullshit. Complete bullshit.

Stop allowing yourself to be fooled by charlatans.

I went back and read your original post (which actually doesn't effect anything I've said so far, despite your claiming that it does). You get a lot of superficial burns. Congrats. So do I. You know what? If you do nothing - nothing at all - your pain will go away in about 20 minutes... about the same time as your "remedy" that charlatans have sold to you. Also, if you do nothing - nothing at all - you won't get any scaring the majority of the time. For all the thousands of times I've burned myself, I have two burn scars. Count em: two. One was when a 7.62mm cartridge case landed in the sleeve of my BDU blouse, the other time was when I accidentally brushed my hand against the inside of a 500 degree oven.

So based on my own anecdotal story, doing nothing at all is about as effective as homeopathy! Something anyone who uses their brain could have predicted! Wow!

What I really canât understand is why these folks (i.e., Chuckles and Julian from a few months back) who are so enamored of homeopathy think itâs acceptable to have to search around and search around and search around some more for just the right cure instead of taking medicine that has been shown to work for most patients.

Welcome to the 21st century â we have better ways of figuring out whatâs going to work now.

@ Chemmomo: Funny thing about has-been servicemen. They have a set belief system grounded in racism and sexism and freely share that belief system on science blogs. They refer to one of the wives as "the witch" and hold their infants down while "the witch" drags an unmarked bottle of pills from her sack of nostrums and proceeds to push pills into a six month old infants.

There are also a pugnacious lot, making threats and talking about their gonads and the gonads of other posters on this site...a weirdo to be sure...all the while offering no proof of the effectiveness of any of the homeopathy cures that they anecdotally report, with nary a citation in sight.

Sorry Chuckles, your GPA in undergrad introductory science courses, plus your wise guy attitude and provocative behaviors toward women, did not qualify you for medical school...no matter what color skin you have. Just be glad that you had a middling career in the armed services and just be glad that you didn't poison or choke to death the daughter intrusted to your care and the care of "the witch".

300+ posts, and chuck still hasn't offered a single shred of evidence for his position in any of his posts.

That, and his attitude, makes me wonder if he really ever applied for med school.

I wonder if Chuck thinks that we're supposed to blindly accept his pronouncements in the same way soldiers are supposed to follow orders? That would almost make sense of his complete inability to address a single one of the objections to his claims.

Then again, plenty of other military and ex-military people I know don't have that sort of attitude so maybe it's just that he's a moron.

David@98 "Homeopathic remedies are almost impossible for non Homeopaths to set up,"

??? Why?

David@98 "I have never seen a study where the homeopathic remedy didn't at least slightly outperform the placebo. I say this is interesting BECAUSE ACCORDING TO CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES ARE PLACEBO!"

What establishes the the "slightly outperform the placebo" results are not actually merely a placebo result?

Posted by:

I know that Mr. Freedman's response is being discussed in another post, but I still wanted to come back and address this one thing.

And if you think I failed right at my first point, how would you grade yourself for starting off your comment by misspelling my name?

Defending himself by trying to equate a typo with a major logical fallacy says a lot about Mr. Freedman's abilities as a thinker and a journalist. None of them are good things, though. It's one of the weakest tu quoque arguments that I've seen in quite a while.

I'd prefer to let Orac have the last word, since it is his blog. (Not to mention that I just don't have time to keep going with this sort of back and forth. Honestly, and I say this with nothing but admiration, I don't know where Orac finds the time himself, given that, the last time I checked, he has a day job.) But I absolutely cannot restrain myself from responding to one small but (to me) very important point, mostly because I partly got it wrong. When Orac, in his response to my response to his response on my article, claims that he never said I distorted Ioannidis' views via misquoting and quoting out of context, he may not be recalling these comments from him in the Ioannidis post:

"Oh, please. Youâre a journalist. You should know better than I that itâs impossible to write a piece like that without imposing your interpretation on it to some extent. You do that through the selection of quotes (seriously, how many hours of interviews do you have, from which you had to select a few key quotes?), the way you describe findings, etc."

That doesn't really justify my saying that Orac has accused me of misquoting sources, as I did above, so I apologize and retract that part of the statement. But I think it does justify my claiming Orac has accused me of distorting sources and quoting people out of context. After all, if he did not mean to suggest that I use the selective quoting of sources (essentially the same as quoting out of context) to misrepresent what my sources were really trying to say, then how else could he defend his contention that Ioannidis' views were not accurately represented by the quotes in my article about him?

If we can't accept the basic premise that quotes reflect a person's beliefs, at least in a reputable publication, we are truly wasting our time with journalism. I'm sure many of you will agree that is exactly what we are doing with much or most of journalism, and I'm not sure I entirely disagree. Still, I plug away. Hey, it's a living.

I think that all Orac was trying to say is that the journalist's opinions and presentations inevitably color the article. Strict impartiality simply doesn't exist; it's human nature. That's an entirely different thing than accusing you of deliberate distortion or misrepresentation.

In other words, this

If we can't accept the basic premise that quotes reflect a person's beliefs, at least in a reputable publication, we are truly wasting our time with journalism.

is misguided idealism. It just doesn't work that way.

Chuck:

If you are going to persist in using only your self-styled personal experiments - the flaws of which the commenters who have attempted to engage you (rather than, say, people like me who have settled for mockery) have pointed out over and over again - you will make no headway here. You are wasting your time and ours by endlessly repeating your unsupported assertions vis-à-vis homeopathy.

What will (start to) convince people are well-designed, methodologically rigorous studies, constructed and conducted to remove as many biases and confounding factors as possible, and published in the peer-reviewed literature, showing homeopathy works better than placebo, whether for gout, cancer, allergies, or whatever claims homeopaths make about homeopathy.

As our knowledge of physics, chemistry, and physiology suggests that homeopathy is extraordinarily implausible or even impossible, the quality and quantity of evidence required to make the case for homeopathy is very high.

If you can provide some cites to peer-reviewed articles on PubMed (PMID numbers will do) or to other peer-reviewed literature, you will find the overall response to your claims to be a great deal more positive. To be sure, other commenters may then analyse and rebut your citations if they find fault with them (methodology, blinding, etc.). But cites will go down better than stories.

Thus endeth the serious talk. Any further participation by me will henceforth consist of mockery.

TO: Jody
RE: Truth Be Known

Chuck, your personal experience isn't the measure of truth. -- Jody

That's why I'm suggesting you test the 'truth' for yourself....

.....should you have the courage to step out of the box and actually think for yourself. As it is, youâI suspectâand a lot of others around here are incapable of testing a hypothesis for themselves.

Hope that helps....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me the Truth. -- Thoreau]

P.S. Remember, the government and the various agencies and industries that work hand-in-glove with it, e.g., the Big Pharms and the AMA, told US that (1) alcohol and eggs were bad for US and (2) chiropractic and acupuncture techniques didn't work.

Come to find out that (1) alcohol and eggs in moderation ARE good for you. Not bad. And (2) that chiropractic and acupuncture techniques actually DO work....in the proper situations.

And you trust all those same proven-to-be lying organizations about everything?

How 'naive'.....

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 17 Jun 2011 #permalink

That's why I'm suggesting you test the 'truth' for yourself....

And the fact that you STILL keep suggesting only proves that not only do you not understand how to determine whether something works or not, but you ignore those who explain it to you.

Come to find out that (1) alcohol and eggs in moderation ARE good for you. Not bad.

And how did we find that out? Science! The same science that showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that homeopathy is just an elaborate placebo, like acupuncture and the vast majority of chiropractic.

TO: Composer99
RE: Heh

I'm getting the distinct impression that skeptics can't read English very well.

Go read what I just wrote to Jody.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[For additional information, please re-read this message.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 17 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck, a wise person learns from personal experience. A fool learns from nothing but personal experience.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 17 Jun 2011 #permalink

"think for yourself" = "agreeing with chuck".

Thanks Mr. Mensa debate team judge. You're really dispelling our notions about the social ineptitude of that group. But seriously, is this the level of discourse in the cross-x competitions and if so, has anyone ever noted that it is a dumbass way to conduct science?

That's why I'm suggesting you test the 'truth' for yourself....

I did, remember? It failed. Why haven't you addressed that?

By wintermute (not verified) on 17 Jun 2011 #permalink

"However, I guess that Dedj doesn't recommend ANYTHING they've used for themselves to anyone else. That be it fine scotch, tobacco or medicine."

Not sure how you managed to reach this conclusion.

"If they HAVE recommended anything to ANYONE, friend or foe, then their credibility just went down the toilet."

Given that my whole point it that we can, in fact, follow other peoples recommendations (as in, we don't need to try something for ourselves to know that it might be useful for another person), it would be rather out for this to destroy my credibility.

The point you have missed is that I was expressly refering to your golden rule about trying things out for yourself.

If trying it for yourself is so great, then whether you have tried anything adds nothing to your recommendation to other people. It's a total irrelevance under your own value system.

If we can rely on other people to not be total idiots, then we can rely on the recommendation to try the mainstream remedies first.

You are trying to have both the 'try it for yourself' and 'try something because I did' options at the same time.

Perhaps you might like to have the balls to face up to what I pointed out to you, rather than trying to smear me with a cheap and dirty logical fallacy.

"After all, if he did not mean to suggest that I use the selective quoting of sources (essentially the same as quoting out of context) to misrepresent what my sources were really trying to say, then how else could he defend his contention that Ioannidis' views were not accurately represented by the quotes in my article about him?"

You haven't provided enough context for Oracs quote. Rather ironic given the circumstances.

But anyway, misrepresenting another persons work does not require that the misrepresentation be both insightful and deliberate. You may have simply misunderstood the piece of work.

A quote can be accurate down to the intonation and body language of the interviewee. It doesn't follow that the high accuracy of the quote therefore results in a high accuracy in the interpretation, even though high accuracy in interpretation does require an accurate quote.

"If we can't accept the basic premise that quotes reflect a person's beliefs, at least in a reputable publication, we are truly wasting our time with journalism."

We can't accept that premise because it requires that the quotes be both representative and presented in an appropriate context.

The arguement "I quoted them, therefore my interpretation and understanding of their beliefs is accurate" is not an adequate defence to the suggestion that you may not have properly understood them. The subject may know thier beans from thier bacon, it does not follow that you - whether the journalist writing an article or the student writing a marked paper - are automatically on the right track.

It's rather telling that none of your posts or responses include the possibility that you might have got anything wrong. Interestingly, the only response of yours that comes close blithely insults other people for your failure to follow basic blog post structure.

>That's why I'm suggesting you test the 'truth' for yourself....

Chuck, you obviously didn't understand my post. Personal experience isn't a measure of truth, be it yours or mine.

As it is, youâI suspectâand a lot of others around here are incapable of testing a hypothesis for themselves.

WTF are you talking about? Many people here (including me) are scientists. We test hypothesis ALL THE TIME. However, in order for a hypothesis to be tested, it needs to be plausible in reality.

It is not physically possible to test the core premise of homeopathy, because the core premises are not physically possible in reality. The only possible hypothesis that I could test would be: "Does water have memory?" And every time, the answer will be "No." There is no mechanism of action for which I could test. There is no way to possibly test whether the "active ingredients" are in the human body, because those "active ingredients" don't exist. I cannot physically test whether a 200C dilution will be more potent than a 100C dilution, as neither one will have an effect on anything; and the idea that either one has any sort of healing power is completely bogus. I also cannot physically test which unlabeled vial contains which remedy, because there is nothing in there to test. It's all pure imagination.

Stop allowing yourself to be tricked by charlatans.

"The big DIFFERENCE is that I've already proven my proposed 'cure' to myself. "

But WE haven't tested that 'cure' for ourselves, so - under the golden 'try it for yourself' rule - it is to be considered untested for all other people except yourself.

Whether or not YOU have tried something for yourself is irrelevant under your 'try it for yourself' rule.

Stu is well within his rights to tell you to try something for yourself as you have yet to try it for yourself. Trying something for yourself is the core of your arguement, yet you are too chicken to try it just because someone else didn't try it on your behalf first.

'Try it for yourself' and 'let someone else try it for you' are mutual opposites, yet you are trying to have the best of both worlds, and you know this.

Deal with the fact that other people may not agree with you and your highly egocentric value system or kindly fuck off and leave these decent people alone.

"As it is, youâI suspectâand a lot of others around here are incapable of testing a hypothesis for themselves."

Which is not the same as testing a hypotheis ON yourself.

Indeed, it is a bad idea to be both the tester and test subject. You'll have a hard time telling whether the test worked the way it did because of your bias as a tester or your bias as a subject.

Of course, there's the problem that many of us here don't have the illness you do in the first place. Even though you encourage us to 'try things out for ourselves' and 'think outisde the box', it's rather telling that you basically want everyone to have the same attitude to these things that you do.

In other words, you want us to all be like you, and you can't stand the idea that we'd much rather not be.

Remember, the government and the various agencies and industries that work hand-in-glove with it, e.g., the Big Pharms and the AMA, told US that (1) alcohol and eggs were bad for US and (2) chiropractic and acupuncture techniques didn't work.

Come to find out that (1) alcohol and eggs in moderation ARE good for you. Not bad. And (2) that chiropractic and acupuncture techniques actually DO work....in the proper situations.

1) Our knowledge on the human body has changed since the 60s and 70s. Just like our knowledge on many things have changed. Remember when endocrine disruptors didn't exist? Oh, wait, they're always existed, we just didn't know about them. Or how about when you weren't considered a "man" if you didn't pipette by mouth? Yeah, turns out, that's bad. Or how about when certain chemicals in large amounts weren't bad for the environment?

So I guess all that means that homeopathy works, right? Right.

2)Chiropractic techniques work sometimes, in highly specific situations, such as muscle and joint manipulation. Chiropractic techniques DO NOT cure influenza, or goiter, or any of the other thousands of pure bullshit that they claim to be able to cure (and yes, I have been to chiropractors who claim they can cure the flu with their joint manipulations). Acupuncture does not work. Period. Just like homeopathy does not work. There is no mechanism of action. There are no chi lines in your body that allow the flow of energy; of which blocked energy lines cause ailment and dis-ease. Just like homeopathy, acupuncture is pure imagination. Do not allow yourself to be fooled by charlatans.

TO: Jarred C
RE: Chiropracty Works

2)Chiropractic techniques work sometimes, in highly specific situations, such as muscle and joint manipulation -- Jarred C

Works for me.

I threw my back out, for the first time, several years ago, while preparing a birthday cake for my Mother-in-Law, God rest her soul. Down in the basement collecting ingredients, e.g., chocolate, I took some chocolate bars out of a tin. I sealed the tin. Bent, turned and twisted to put the tin of chocolate back on the shelf and then could not stand up again.

Spend two days hobbling around like old Biff in Back to the Future II.

Visited a back-cracker. Next day walked like a Homo sapien again.

What's your point? That chiropractic techniques don't work?

Or that, by inference, homeopathic techniques don't work either?

Are you REALLY a member of Densa?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out.....]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Jody
RE: Really?

Chuck, you obviously didn't understand my post. Personal experience isn't a measure of truth, be it yours or mine. -- Jody

How very odd....

YOU suggested I was asking you to take my 'truth' as your own.

I corrected you in saying you should learn to test whatever is 'truth' for yourself.

NOW, you claim I don't understand you?

Silly 'jody'.....you're the sort of 'skeptic', e.g., crowd mentality, I suspected you were in my initial reply to you. And you 'project' when you suggest I didn't read you right.

'nuff said.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Anyone here read The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind?

I got interested in the sort of mentality I've experienced over the years from the 'skeptics'. And, after only the first chapter, I'm seeing some interesting parallels between what amounts to mob-psychology and skeptics. I appreciate the 'unity of mind' and 'anonymous nature' of what I've experienced from 'skeptics' all these years.

You're following true-to-form, so far. But it's only chapter one, so far. We'll have more to report in the not-too-distant-future, vis-a-vis skepticblogs.com. The 'scienceblogs.com' is a CLASSIC misnomer. And very clever in its application.

The 'Insolence' part seems to be practiced by the vast majority of posters here, i.e., those without a single curious synapse between their ears......

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

P.S. That chiropractic incident....

....it is in the vicinity of where my ruck-sack used to ride on my lower back all those years I was humping 80+ pounds of gear as a paratrooper in the 82d Airborne.

Quelle 'coincidence', eh?

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: wintermute
RE: Heh

I did, remember? It failed. Why haven't you addressed that? -- wintermute

I did address that. You didn't care. Whose fault is that?

Three guesses. First two don't count.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out. Not that people actually...you know...'care'.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Gray Falcon
RE: Old Adages

A fool learns from nothing but personal experience. -- Gray Falcon

I know a better adage.

A wise man learns from other peoples experiences. Most men learn from their own experiences. A FOOL never learns.

I think my 'old adage' has more authenticity than your made up one.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out....skeptics are 'incompetent'.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

I think we have a good handle about what makes Chuck tick.

He lives in the past...during his time in the military as an NCO, is pugnacious and fixated on gonads. He also is a born-again Christian, distrustful of government, has a special animosity directed to our black President and is a biblical scholar who applies a literal translation to current events that may (or may not) be associated with "The Rapture".

By his posting here we know his skill set for logical thinking as well as his education in the sciences are nil.

Chuck, I did so enjoy your many postings at:

The Anchoress It's the Rapture Round-Up-UPDATED

I was having a rather dull morning until I viewed your postings...thanks.

TO: lilady
RE: Too Phunny

I think we have a good handle about what makes Chuck tick.

He lives in the past...during his time in the military as an NCO, is pugnacious and fixated on gonads. -- lilady

You couldn't hold a train of thought with a pair of pliers.

Yes. I WAS an NCO, but I retired an LTC. Something of the difference, that.

As for your racist comments....I'm reminded of a famous First Shirt's reply to allegations of racism....

When I look at that formation, I don't see red, black, white, yellow or brown. ALL I SEE IS 'GREEN'.

So kindly play [race cards] with yourself. Otherwise, you appear the 'racist'. [NOTE: And don't get me started with my 'coming of age' in Louisiana in the late-60s. You'll find you've bitten off more than your poor bicuspids can 'chew'.]

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Boredom, n., having nothing better to do that attack actual thought.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck, you haven't learned anything. If you listened to us, you'd realize that science is built from a great many people's experiences, compiled and examined in great detail. You just go by your own experience, without ever listening to anyone else. Actually, you don't even learn from your own experiences, which would show you how slipshod homeopathy really is if you thought about it.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

Mr. Freedman opines,

If we can't accept the basic premise that quotes reflect a person's beliefs, at least in a reputable publication, we are truly wasting our time with journalism.

Sir, are you really that naive, or do you just think that we are? A cursory reading of Orac's archives will bring up countless examples of selective quotation used by woo-purveyors to bolster their position. That's the stock-in-trade of a lot of groups.

P.S. As for my 'gonads'.....

....they are controlled by a woman who is (1) the epitome of the woman described in Proverbs 31 and (2) reminds me of the female lead in the movie Life Force.

Eat your heart out.....

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: [The] Gray Falcon [Sheesh, will these people EVER have the gonads to use their REAL name? It's like playing Dungeons and Dragons from my bygone college daze]
RE: Are We Learning, Yet?

Chuck, you haven't learned anything. -- Gray Falcon

Look who's talk'n. You and all the other sceptic skeptics in this blog. They couldn't 'learn' anything on their own hook than the Pope could become a homosexual. You and they are all locked into a dogma that surpasses everythink the RCs are taught.

You'll NEVER learn ANYTHING, based on current evidence, unless the AMA/FDA/NPR/whathaveyou spoon feed it to you.

It's blatantly obvious to the most casual [and objective] observer, as you won't test anything for yourself.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. It's not MY problem if you insist on 'suffering'.....

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

P.S. About 'slipshod'....

...yeah....all of you sceptic skeptics would be 'slipshod' too, if you tested the hypothesis for yourselves.....

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck:

TO: [The] Gray Falcon [Sheesh, will these people EVER have the gonads to use their REAL name? It's like playing Dungeons and Dragons from my bygone college daze] RE: Are We Learning, Yet?

You did threaten us, remember? We're not fools. Still, if you'd like a name, call me Maxfield Stanton. After all, you can trust an absolute stranger on the Internet, right?

Look who's talk'n. You and all the other sceptic skeptics in this blog. They couldn't 'learn' anything on their own hook than the Pope could become a homosexual. You and they are all locked into a dogma that surpasses everythink the RCs are taught.

Which dogma? We actually admitted that cholesterol wasn't as bad as we first thought, that's hardly dogmatic. Even you admitteed that.

You'll NEVER learn ANYTHING, based on current evidence, unless the AMA/FDA/NPR/whathaveyou spoon feed it to you.

Of course we listen to them, they've proven themselves right again and again. Care to prove otherwise? And don't bother with eggs or alcohol, correcting an error is honest, not shady.

It's blatantly obvious to the most casual [and objective] observer, as you won't test anything for yourself.

Some of us did, and it didn't work any better than if we left well enough alone.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck,

Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, believed that bloodletting could cure almost all illnesses, and especially yellow fever. "The effect of bloodletting is as immediate and natural in removing fever, as the abstraction of a particle of sand is to cure an inflammation of the eye, when it arises from that cause", he wrote.

Sometimes he would remove 5 pints of blood or more from a patient over the course of as many days. Rush's personal experience in this was extensive, he treated thousands of patients, and took his faith in bloodletting with him to his grave.

We now know that draining a weak and sick person of a large proportion of their blood is likely to worsen their condition or even kill them. We know this from clinical trials that followed patients who were bled, and patients who were not. Those who escaped bloodletting were ten times more likely to survive than those who did not.

Rush was wrong. Badly wrong. His personal experience deceived him. Are you able to consider the possibility that your personal experience may have deceived you? Or are you like Rush, one of whose contemporaries accused him of, "the most insolent pretension to superiority ever set up by mortal man"?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

I threw my back out, for the first time, several years ago, while preparing a birthday cake for my Mother-in-Law, God rest her soul.

I'm sorry, but this recital of what for all the world sound like canonical drunken mishaps is starting to crack me up.

Chuck: anyone knows that aloe vera works way better. Topical treatments beat out pills (of any sort). Just putting that out there.
Anecdata: I've noticed that some treatments work, some do nothing at all, and that's true of both alternative and conventional medicine.
I was treated with acupuncture for anxiety- didn't work that well, but I got some nice naps of it. I also took a medication for a year and a half that might as well have been a placebo. And the liver pills- again, placebo, but not nearly as nice tasting as the sugar pills.
My little sister was treated with feverfew for migraines, but the real cure was puberty.
My dad got sick with pericarditis. He had to have surgery and a whole lot of antibiotics, painkillers and other stuff. Sugar pills wouldn't have worked. And my brother and sister were both born not breathing- I'd be an only child today if it weren't for the nurses and doctors who got them breathing.
Last year, I had a mild case of Bell's palsy (partial facial paralysis.) After a week of steroids and anti-virals, I got a bit of movement back. By two weeks in, I was cured.
So, personally, I'm sticking with the stuff that has a better chance of working. Yes, side effects suck, and some doctors could use a remedial course on how to deal with people, but mostly I think people shouldn't mock Western medicine. My dad and sibs wouldn't be alive today without it.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

"P.S. It's not MY problem if you insist on 'suffering'....."

no one here insists on that, so cut that lie out right now.

Chuck,
Your story of how cold water didn't do much about your severe burns when you picked up a pan directly out of the oven certainly caused me to wince. Have you been burned to the same extent and used Cantharis instead of cold water? Can you compare the experiences?
As an aside - I'm concerned about you. Between your gout and all the burns (I've never, that I recall, been burned so badly that I got a noticeable scar, and I've had a number of 2nd degree burns over the years), I'm afraid you're headed for problems.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: Gray Falcon & 'Threats'

You did threaten us, remember? -- Gray Falcon

I wonder how 'sensitive' the Gray Falcon is in order to call anything I posted here a 'threat'.

And a quick search on the term 'Maxfield Stanton' reveals 'squado', for a REAL person. This, as opposed to searching the web of MY REAL name.

So much for this cretin.....

'nuff said.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out. Cretins amongst the sceptic skeptics abound....]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Mephistopheles
RE: Compare & Contrast

Your story of how cold water didn't do much about your severe burns when you picked up a pan directly out of the oven certainly caused me to wince. Have you been burned to the same extent and used Cantharis instead of cold water? Can you compare the experiences? -- Mephistopheles

Sure.

How about you re-read all my comments here and look for the candle-making incident see item #146 (above).

RE: 'Concerns'

As an aside - I'm concerned about you. Between your gout and all the burns (I've never, that I recall, been burned so badly that I got a noticeable scar, and I've had a number of 2nd degree burns over the years), I'm afraid you're headed for problems. -- Mephistopheles

So....

....you've never been 'serious' about playing with fire. Good for you.

On the other hand, I appreciate your 'concern', but please.....just have the personal courage to test things for yourself.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[You haven't lived, until you've almost died. -- LTC Johnson, 2d Brigade XO, 82d Airborne Division, c. 1977]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: 'Suffering'

no one here insists on that, so cut that lie out right now. -- Dedj

Au contraire [please pardon my French].....

.....anyone who doesn't have the courage to take my proposed test INSISTS on personal suffering.

Just because Dedj gets upset about my pointing that out, is just more 'evidence' to the group-mindâcrowd, e.g., mobâmentality at play amongst the sceptic skeptics.

They, as a group, don't have the courage to step outside the box, that more rational people have. So, like the characters in Niven & Pournelle's Inferno they reject the concept that there is a way to achieve relief. And, instead, reject the 'messenger'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Life is tough. It's tougher if you're 'stupid'.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: Heh

Chuck, you haven't learned anything. If you listened to us, you'd realize that science is built from a great many people's experiences, compiled and examined in great detail. -- Gray Falcon

More reason to reject Gray Falcon. He apparently can't comprehend English very well, as what I've proposed ALL THIS TIME is for peopleâA GREAT MANY PEOPLEâto 'experience' something for themselves.

This concept seems to be totally foreign to the sceptic skeptics around this so-called 'scienceblog'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out....]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck, you can't throw your back out. Ever.

anyone who doesn't have the courage to take my proposed test INSISTS on personal suffering

Said the man whose insistence on using sugar pills instead of real medicine to treat his gout has resulted in serious and permanent damage to his toe...

You're funny Chuck, but somehow I don't think it's intentional.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

".....anyone who doesn't have the courage to take my proposed test INSISTS on personal suffering. "

Totally false, refusal to try your own personal cure on the basis that you say we should is not equivilant to saying that we should never try any of the various examined and tested treatments.

It's not all about you and what you think.

"He apparently can't comprehend English very well, as what I've proposed ALL THIS TIME is for peopleâA GREAT MANY PEOPLEâto 'experience' something for themselves."

And as we've told you repeatedly, this is a very poor substitue for having a great number of people try it for you, under controlled conditions, with expert oversight.

You're effectively chastising people for trusting a greater number of people who 'have tried it for themselves'.

So Chuck, if 'trying it for yourself' is so great - why can't we trust other people who have tried something just because that would be 'thinking inside the box', but suddenly a single person can be trusted just because they alledgedly 'think outside the box'?

If we can't trust entire groups of people - why can we trust you?

Before you reply - remember that it's not all about you.

MESSAGE BEGINS-------------------------------

Shills and Minions,

What a dreadful, humorless little man this author appears to be. Really rather clueless as regards his critical myopia, but in a dreary, droning sort of way. Almost reminiscent of the AugieDrone Mk II. The attack on his screed seems to be making headway among the shills and minions. ORAC and his cohorts seem to have spanked his little, pink monkeybottom rather authoritatively, so I'll refrain from adding anything to the fray.

That said, it does my cold, cold heart good to see you gleefully batting your new drone about.

At first I was concerned the Glaxxon Practice Drone GPDv27hl5 [ChuckDrone] would be quickly spotted as it's programming is a bit "over the top" as you say. The ladies down on level 7 assured the Third Terran Affairs Council that we should stimulate the shills and minions with some mindless positivity. Those darling little smug taglines are a work of pure genius, if I do say so myself (and, of course, I do).

Continue sharpening your mental claws my minions. Make them as polished and sharp as my my physical ones.

Remember, it's almost PharmaCOM Orbital Picnic time. Cindy is open to suggestions for this year's theme.

Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L
Forward Mavoon of the Great Fleet, Suzerain of V'tar and Pharmaca Magna of Terra
PharmaCOM Orbital HQ 0010101101001

------------------------MESSAGE ENDS

Chuckie? Why is "On the other hand, I appreciate your 'concern', but please.....just have the personal courage to test things for yourself.
Regards,"

Why is it personal courage to take your completely biased, quite possibly fictional, flagrantly warped by personal bias "test" which actually amounts to no test at all? It will not "prove" anything one way or the other.

And nothing you've described sounds any different in effect from any of the more rational, tested, methods of dealing with burns.

I'm afraid you're the coward here, Chuckie. You're too scared to go to the doctor, so you cripple yourself for life by ignoring cures for gout.

That's not intelligent. That's just cowardly.

By Rilke's Grandd… (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

"Chuckie said: "P.S. About 'slipshod'....
...yeah....all of you sceptic skeptics would be 'slipshod' too, if you tested the hypothesis for yourselves....."

That would be correct. We would be slipshod and illogical to test your hypothesis on ourselves - because that would not be a valid test.

Remember Chuckie: you're the coward, here.

By Rilke's Grandd… (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

Oh, and Chuckie? Another question. Suppose I try your "remedy" and it doesn't work. What have we proved? Nothing. What have we shown? Nothing.

Suppose I try your "remedy" and it does work. What have we proved? Nothing. What have we shown? Nothing.

So what's the point? I see that you're hung up on personal courage - most cowards are. But really, what's the point?

By Rilke's Grandd… (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: Heh

Said the man whose insistence on using sugar pills instead of real medicine to treat his gout has resulted in serious and permanent damage to his toe... -- Krebiozen

Krebiozen lacks the necessary intellectual curiosity to be involved with any blog involved with 'science'. Hence, my suspicion that this blog is not about 'science' at all.

Just look at the likes of Krebiozen and the vast majority of those who don't have any 'intellectual curiosity' themselves posting comments here.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Let alone Krebiozen's inability to appreciate the more recent successful efforts of using homeopathy against gout.

Talk about 'stupid'....

Stupid, adj., Ignorant and proud of it.

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

I don't have gout so, of course, I can't try the cure that Chucklehead is so keen for people to try out.

However, I can look at the results of people trying gout remedies and come to some conclusion about which ones would be the best ones if I ever did develop gout.

Trying something for yourself is not needed because - ironically - people like FiveChuckleShuffle are willing to try it out for us.

Him 'trying it out for himself' is the very reason why we don't have to. If we can supposedly trust his singular piece of data, then we can definetly trust much larger pieces of data that say otherwise.

This has been explained to him multiple times. Somehow he just can't see past himself.

What's your point? That chiropractic techniques don't work?

Or that, by inference, homeopathic techniques don't work either?

Are you REALLY a member of Densa?

Wow. Just... wow. I state the one specific situation in which chiropractic works, and explain various situations in which is doesn't work (but chiropractors claim to be able to do), and you try to counter that with.. describing a situation that fits the area *which I just said* works.

As for the homeopathy (which doesn't work at all, regardless of your claim otherwise), I had used the *previous* paragraph to talk about that. Is your reading comprehension that bad? I remember stupid people when I was in the Army, but, dear god, you make them look like geniuses. Did you get in with an ASVAB of 31? Your claim that the government had told us "facts" which have been wrong in the past, therefore homeopathy works, despite the gov't claiming that it doesn't work today, is absolutely laughable. And that is the inferred argument that I countered in the first paragraph.

Just... wow.

TO: Rilke's Granddaughter
RE: Why Ask 'Why'?

Why is it personal courage to take your completely biased, quite possibly fictional, flagrantly warped by personal bias "test" which actually amounts to no test at all? It will not "prove" anything one way or the other.

Remember Chuckie: you're the coward, here. -- Rilke's Granddaughter

You can call me a 'coward' all you like. But I'm the one who spent 27 years in the infantry, jumping out of perfectly good aircraft in flight and other forms of throwing oneself to the Fates.

Indeed. It looks like YOU'RE the 'coward', projecting you cowardice on others.

Get back with me about cowardice when YOU become an Airborne-Ranger and are trusted by 63 other paratroopers with their very lives as the jumpmaster in a C130 full of heavy-laden men about to cast their lives into the 'wind' of the slipstream outside such an aircraft.

On the other hand, you can prove your personal bravery by taking the 'test' I proposed above.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. After all.....

....what POSSIBLE 'harm' can you suffer from a non-existent 'dose' of a dilute material?

People all around the world do it every day. And yet I have no reports of 'harm' sustained by them.

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Dedj
RE: Yeah....

And as we've told you repeatedly, this is a very poor substitue for having a great number of people try it for you, under controlled conditions, with expert oversight. -- Dedj

....and a 'great number of people' told you that (1) alcohol was bad for you, (2) eggs were bad for you, (3) chiropractic techniques didn't work and (4) acupuncture techniques didn't work.

ALL THOSE 'great number of people' worked for the (1) federal government and/or (2) various highly invested organizations in the Big Pharm/AMA/Etc medical-industrial complexes.

However, THEY WERE LYING TO YOU.

And you believed them. And you STILL BELIEVE them.

Who is more the fool?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. -- old adage]

P.S. Are we learning yet?

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

I think the main purpose of Chuck's "try it for yourself" rant is because he believes that we only think homeopathic remedies don't work because we've been brainwashed by the government/medical companies. He probably thinks that if we tried it for ourselves, we'd immediately see that the they were lying, or something. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't realize that what he's proposing involves attributing any improvements to his remedy, without any way of knowing whether those improvements are due to the remedy or in spite of it!

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Rilke's Granddaughter
RE: What's to 'Prove'

Oh, and Chuckie? Another question. Suppose I try your "remedy" and it doesn't work. What have we proved? Nothing. What have we shown? Nothing.

Suppose I try your "remedy" and it does work. What have we proved? Nothing. What have we shown? Nothing. -- Rilke's Granddaughter

WHAT A CONCEPT!!!!

It 'works' and there's NOTHING proven?

When's the last time you took a class in Logic? Or is it that you work for some Big Pharm or the FDA? Talk about 'bias'.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The 'proof' of the pudding is in the eating.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Gray Falcon
RE: 'Brainwashing'

I think the main purpose of Chuck's "try it for yourself" rant is because he believes that we only think homeopathic remedies don't work because we've been brainwashed by the government/medical companies. -- Gray Falcon

Well. That's how the Roman Catholic Church did it in the Middle Ages. People took their 'official word' on what was written in that big Old Book.

When Guttenberg came out with 'mass productions' of the big Old Book, the RC went ballistic, because EVERYONE could read it for themselves.

You people remind me of the RC from that Dark Age. You take the 'priesthood' at their word. Without question.

And you think you're 'scientific'. There's a big laugh.

He probably thinks that if we tried it for ourselves, we'd immediately see that the they were lying, or something. Unfortunately for him, he doesn't realize that what he's proposing involves attributing any improvements to his remedy, without any way of knowing whether those improvements are due to the remedy or in spite of it! -- Gray Falcon

Whatever you 'see' for yourselves will be fine with me. Whether or not you have the intellectual capacity to recognize what works or doesn't is another matter for discussion.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The proof of the pudding....and all that rot....]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

Ahh yes, the mensa guy lets rip with a pharma shill gambit. I guess logical fallacies are acceptable in your debate competitions?

TO: All
RE Jarred C's Debate 'Flow Chart'

A fascinating demonstration of how most of the people commenting here behave.

I'm particularly impressed with how most of them fall out at the first point in the flow chart....

Can you envision anything that will change your mind on this topic.

I offered something and everyone here seems to refuse the simple 'test' proffered.

On the other hand we have the follow-on point....

If one of your points is proven to be faulty will you stop using that argument....

The point here being that just because something didn't work on one occasion, it should be dropped?

Gosh! Where would Thomas Edison have been with regards to the invention of the 'light blub'. I think it took him hundreds of tries.

Based on that 'arg', I suggest that the flow chart offered by Jarred C is somewhat....uh....'suspect'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Where you 'sit' determines what you 'see'.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: Jarred C Thinks....

Wow. Just... wow. I state the one specific situation in which chiropractic works, and explain various situations in which is doesn't work (but chiropractors claim to be able to do), and you try to counter that with.. describing a situation that fits the area *which I just said* works. -- Jarred C

....that I claim chiropractic techniques are a panacea? How very odd.

No one in their right mind would treat a severed limb with arterial blood spurting out of the end still attached to the body with a spinal adjustment.

You use the proper 'tools' to deal with any situation. However, the mind of Jarred C twists the representation to be a false arg. Typical 'progressive' mentality.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Progressive is a one-word oxymoron.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

Can you envision anything that will change your mind on this topic.

A well-designed double blind randomised clinical trial of the effect of homeopathic cantharis on minor burns that showed a statistically significant effect of cantharis over placebo. If that was replicated by a few different research groups, I would change my mind. I would be astonished, but I would change my mind.

So far all I can find is the study I linked to earlier which found that a placebo reduced the pain of minor burns by 66%, cantharis tablets only by 61%.

So I have a choice between believing a double blind study by two British doctors (bear in mind I am British) that found cantharis had no effect, or some bloke on the internet who believes that the Bible is the literal word of God, that the rapture is imminent, and doesn't seem to understand anything at all about logic or the problems with anecdotal evidence.

I don't find that a difficult choice.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

It 'works' and there's NOTHING proven?

How do you know how long it would have taken for the pain to subside if you didn't take the remedy?

I burn myself, after a while it stops hurting.

I burn myself, I take some cantharis tablets, after a while it stops hurting.

Logically, what does either of those scenarios prove?

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

It's like playing Dungeons and Dragons

Ah D&D. I do so love that game. I always thought that it was such a fascinating tool to teach young folks how to separate fantasy from reality.

Looks like Chuck never learned that lesson.

Homeopathy = fantasy, not reality.
Acupuncture = fantasy, not reality.

I know, I know, those things actually exist, unlike the unicorns of the bible; but to believe that they work is a fantasy.

Also, chuck, there are things that would change many folk's mind about homeopathy. To name a few: mechanism of action; detection of the medicine in the human body; a t1/2, Km, and Vmax value; an explanation that doesn't involve breaking the laws of physics and chemistry; and double-blind random trials that are reproducible which show positive effects significantly better than a placebo.

Get all those things, and every person in this thread, including Orac, will change their minds.

Chuck Pelto@436: I could tell if I was feeling better, but on my own, I'd have no way of knowing why. Please listen to other people, your arrogance is not helping your case at all.
Krebiozen@441: It's always fascinating that the same people who like to talk about "the body's amazing ability to heal itself" when complaining about modern medicine are completely ignorant of "the body's amazing ability to heal itself" when asked about double-blind testing.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: Krebiozen's 'Limited' Mental Capacity

A 'well designed' double-blind randomized clinical trial -- Krebiozen

As if we haven't seen such from various Big-Pharm/FDA-Approved, e.g., officially 'approved', sources....that have lied to US over the last four decades.

However, Krebiozenâand so many others hereâdoesn't have the intestinal fortitude to test something for himself.

What a bunch of 'losers'....listening to the latter-day 'priesthood', who've already been proven to lie to them about health-related matters.

Talk about the 'blind' leading the 'blind'....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Life is tough. It's tougher if you're 'stupid'.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: Hot Flashes

I see an 'ad' ere or an 'experiment' on some way to reduce the impact of 'hot flashes'.

Tell me.....

....is the 'experiment' being run by a Pharm company with approval of the FDA?

Is that the ONLY way 'science' is achieved in the US?

If that's the case, how is it that Jobs and Wozniack created Apple Computer?

Regards,

Chuck(le)

P.S. From my iPad in my kitchen while preparing supper.....

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck, you never provided examples of the FDA lying, you provided examples of them being in error, and correcting themselves. Do you treat everyone who makes a mistake this way? I should also note that "try it yourself" assumes infallibility on the tester's part. Do you consider yourself infallible?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

What a bunch of 'losers'....listening to the latter-day 'priesthood', who've already been proven to lie to them about health-related matters.

Hey, moron, apparently you don't realize this, so I'll let you in on a little "secret."

There is more to the world of science and medicine than the American companies and government. In fact (I kid you not!) there are whole universities (many of them, all around the world!) of people who do research on medical treatments and drugs. Really! There are! You can even check them out for yourself. Hell, I'm a university researcher! And absolutely zero of my funding comes from pharmaceutical companies or their glove-in-hands! And there are tens of thousands of researchers out there who are in the same position as I am! Amazing, huh?

In fact, not only are there tons of universities with researchers doing research (which sometimes go counter to what pharmaceutical companies claim), there are also other governments and other governmental organizations that do research, outside of the USA! I'm totally serious! Amazing, isn't it! Sweden, Germany, Japan, China, all the countries in the UK, and many more! And they all have different goals and interests compared to the US government and the American pharmaceutical companies.

I willing to believe that this might be total news to you, and as such, I'm willing to take back every insult I've laid towards you, and publicly apologize to you (here in Orac's blog), if it turns out that all your anti-science and anti-medicine beliefs are because you honestly didn't know that there was more to the medical world than the American government and American pharmaceutical companies.

Krebiozenâand so many others hereâdoesn't have the intestinal fortitude to test something for himself.

I have plenty (some would say an unhealthy excess) of intestinal fortitude and intellectual curiosity. I refer you to #197 above. Neither commercial nor homemade homeopathic remedies worked for me, or for some members of my family who have tried them.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

"However, Krebiozenâand so many others hereâdoesn't have the intestinal fortitude to test something for himself. "

We have suckers like you to test it for us.

Best of all, you actually like being our little guinea pig, and insist quite vocally on your right to experiment on yourself for our benefit.

Squeak away little guinea pig.

"However, THEY WERE LYING TO YOU.

And you believed them. And you STILL BELIEVE them. "

What evidence do I have that you are not lying to me?

Hell, I've already caught you at it once, so there's no reason to trust you when you say that you haven't been at it since the beginning.

In addition, if you think the only people who has stated that alcohol is bad or that eggs are bad are the US federal government or the US pharmacomplex, then you seriously need to broaden your horizons beyond the borders of the US.

In the meantime, carry on conducting your free-to-us and free-to-bigpharma experiments. I'm sure they won't mind you saving them the cost of recruiting you and supplying you with the product.

Carry-on nibbling your nice lettuce leaf little guinea pig. As long as you joyfully risk yourself on our behalf, you can have all the cheap lettuce your furry chops can eat.

TO: All
RE: Gray Falcon & Lack of Information

Chuck, you never provided examples of the FDA lying.... -- Grey Falcon

I guess Grey Falcon was conceived sometime after his father learned how to jump a prom date. That would likely be well AFTER I was jumping C130s.

How so?

Because Grey Falcon can't grasp that the FDA et al. was telling us that alcohol and eggs were bad for US....in the 1970s. I know because I WAS THERE. And I knew at that time that their reports were a 'lie'.

It didn't come out that they were lying to US until the 1990s.

Characters like Gray Falcon can go on and perpetuate the lie. For whatever purpose they like. But the facts remain. And the liars persist in their lies....through whatever means they can. Including the likes of 'Grey Falcon'.

Or, just as a counter-arg....

....will someone dispose of the evidence developed in the 1990s that alcohol and eggs are GOOD FOR YOU.

Go on....I defy you all....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out....despite the 'best' efforts of the likes of sceptic skeptics.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: Dedj

What evidence do I have that you are not lying to me? -- Dedj

He can 'believe' whatever he wants. And suffer accordingly.

But I did offer a simple 'test' he could prove or disprove the hypothesis....if he had the 'courage' to try it himself.

Not my problem. But he does make for a good example of the 'True Believer'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

And you knew they were deliberate lying, and not simply making a mistake, how exactly? Because your suspicion isn't enough, I need evidence. Besides, your claim is beside the point, even if they were mistaken about eggs, that doesn't effect whether homeopathy works or not. We don't believe we're infallible. Do you believe you are incapable of error?

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: The Delusional Grey Falcon

And you knew they were deliberate lying, and not simply making a mistake, how exactly? -- Grey Falcon

Only government agencies take DECADES to admit to the truth.

Or are you so ignorant of MacNamara and LBJ lying about the 'Gulf of Tonkin Incident'? A lie that was perpetrated in 1964 and lasted until 1992, when MacNamara wrote a book wherein he admitted to lying about what happened. And the result....

⢠58K American dead
⢠2-4M Southeast Asians dead

Stupid people never learn....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out.....]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: Speaking About 'Suckers'

We have suckers like you to test it for us. -- Dedj

I'm pretty healthy. I suspect he'll, eventually, 'suffer'.

Who's the 'sucker'?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Fools never learn.....despite the efforts of others.....]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: These 'People'....

....e.g., Grey Falcon, Dedj, et al,, like to THINK they are 'scientific'. They are not. They are as close-minded as the priests of the Roman Catholic church in the Middle Ages.

The evidenceâprovided in this threadâis blatantly obvious to the most casual, objective observer.

I don't really care much that the objectors here don't care for their own personal health. However, I DO appreciate the opportunity to display their curious comportment about testing thinks for themselves.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out.....]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

>I know because I WAS THERE. And I knew at that time that >their reports were a 'lie'.

How did you know their reports were a lie? Are you psychic? Or did you do extensive double-blind tests and then keep the results a secret?

>[Fools never learn.....despite the efforts of others.....]

We'll keep trying - you might be educable...

TO: Andrew
RE: How Did I Know?

How did you know their reports were a lie? Are you psychic? Or did you do extensive double-blind tests and then keep the results a secret? -- Andrew

Probably because I've got more than two synapses to rub together. Unlike a lot of others around these parts.

Chuck(le)
P.S. We've been 'sucking eggs' since we crawled out of the swamps. As for alcohol....I'm a descendant of Vikings......

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

>Probably because I've got more than two synapses to rub >together.

I see - you're making up stuff, and insulting people who ask for evidence. Good luck with that.

TO: Andrew
RE: Making Up 'Stuff'?

I see - you're making up stuff, and insulting people who ask for evidence. Good luck with that. -- Andrew

Hardly. Show me your Mensa membership number. And I'll call you 'bro'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Dull as dirt;
You can't assert;
The kind of Truth that will convince;
An eskimo to renounce fur;
To make a vegetarian barbeque hamster.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

@Chuck:

Only government agencies take DECADES to admit to the truth.

So, if someone is mistaken, it's impossible for them to remain mistaken for decades?

Probably because I've got more than two synapses to rub together. Unlike a lot of others around these parts.

So whether eggs are bad for you are not is something that can be determined simply by common sense? If so, how do you tell what questions can be determined by common sense and which can't? By using more common sense?

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Matthew Cline
RE: Mistakes

So, if someone is mistaken, it's impossible for them to remain mistaken for decades? -- Matthew Cline

Most individuals will confess to a 'mistake', much earlier than decades. Governments tend to hide their 'mistakes' from decades. Or are you not such a scholar of history?

On the other hand, we have the latest government 'mistake', DoJ's Operation Fast & Furious. It was discovered after a few years. And yet the government refuses to admit to the 'mistake'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out.....]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

P.S. About 'eggs'

So whether eggs are bad for you are not is something that can be determined simply by common sense? -- Matthew Cline

So....

....you got any evidence to say they ARE 'bad' for you?

Anything since 1990?

On the other hand, we have evidence that the FDA was telling us the were bad for US from the 1970s. And that they said alcohol was BAD for us from the same time.

And we have evidence that they were WRONG. For two decades they perpetrated the lies. Despite blatant evidence that they were wrong all that time.

Go on....SHOW US the evidence that they were 'right'. I defy you....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out....]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

I'm pretty healthy. I suspect he'll, eventually, 'suffer'.

Pretty healthy, eh? Your obsession with having been "lied to" about EtOH, mysterious 'gout' consonant with a peripheral neuropathy, and obviously compromised cognitive function are painting an increasingly compelling, yet different, picture for me.

@Chuck:

Most individuals will confess to a 'mistake', much earlier than decades. Governments tend to hide their 'mistakes' from decades. Or are you not such a scholar of history?

But it doesn't follow from that that if a government changes their position after decades that it must be because they knew they were wrong for years and years.

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

@Chuck:

So....
....you got any evidence to say they ARE 'bad' for you?

I have no evidence that eggs are bad for you, good for you, or anything else. I'm just saying that it's not obvious if they're bad, good, or neutral, and that common sense isn't necessarily going to give the correct answer.

Despite blatant evidence that they were wrong all that time.

I'm curious as to what this blatant evidence was.

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

Sorry, forgot to mention that last link is NSFW.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Narad
RE: Heh

Pretty healthy, eh? Your obsession with having been "lied to" about EtOH, mysterious 'gout' consonant with a peripheral neuropathy, and obviously compromised cognitive function are painting an increasingly compelling, yet different, picture for me. -- Narad

Believe what you wish. Not MY 'problem'.

On the other hand.....

....if you haven't the courage to try the 'test' I propose, you're just another one of the 'True Beleivers' I've addressed here.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Courage is your current greatest need.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Matthew Cline
RE: Well.....

But it doesn't follow from that that if a government changes their position after decades that it must be because they knew they were wrong for years and years. -- Matthew Cline

....explain away the Gulf of Tonkin business. PUHLEASE!!!!

I'd love to hear something other than what I heard a fellow M confess, while crying in his beer after the monthly Denver Mensa General Meeting, wherein he confessed to knowing it was a lie and keeping it a secret until after MacNamara's book came out. He was working Operations for CINC Pacific Fleet when the reports of the 'incident' came in. After his 'confession' several people at the table wanted to wring his neck.

But, back on topic, take the 'test' I propose and give us your results.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson]

P.S. Or are you too 'afraid' of something everyone you've believed all this time tells you can't POSSIBLY have ANY effect?

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

P.P.S. Skepticsâof the sort encountered hereâare the TRUE 'cowards'.

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

So, since the government lied about the Gulf of Tonkin, they lie about everything. So that warning "do not inject" on bottles of bleach must be a lie as well, since it's required by the government. Same logic, really.

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: Grey Falcon.....

So, since the government lied about the Gulf of Tonkin, they lie about everything. -- Grey Falcon

....the government's 'bozo'?

Argument ad absurdium.

'nuff said.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. He, like so many others will 'throw up' whatever args they can to avoid taking the 'test'. It's pathetic how gutless these people are.

They'd spend eternity in Hell, give the chance to escape....

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

....if you haven't the courage to try the 'test' I propose, you're just another one of the 'True Beleivers' I've addressed here.

As stated above, I have tried it. It didn't work. It's too bad that you're too yellow-bellied to come up with a coherent response.

Chuck, my argument was no less absurd than yours. You were trying to use something unrelated as evidence, I pointed out why that doesn't work. Now stay on subject: What evidence do you have that homeopathy works? "Try it for yourself" requires we assume personal infallibility, which we don't. Are you infallible? Do you think that because you believe something, it must be true? We don't. We're not scared of the test, we just find it completely pointless. Big difference. You're always so quick to assume evil in others, so one is left wondering about your own virtue...

By Gray Falcon (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

Chuck's intellectual & moral bankruptcy is laid bare in his bald assertion that the FDA/AMA/US gov't/Pharma complex of (in his view) irredeemably corrupt organizations claimed that eggs & alcohol were bad for people in the 1970s and that somehow these claims were exposed as lies some two decades later.

There are two reasons to find his claims wanting:

First, he has failed to provide supporting evidence (ideally, a link to an official document of the period making such an explicit claim). We are not going to take his word for it, no matter how many times he brags about dropping out of C130s (as if that somehow makes him an expert in medical science).

Second, he seems to ignore the fact that ethyl alcohol still is bad for you (particularly if you have more than a few drinks on occasion). Something to do with the acute & chronic effects of consumption.

As far as eggs go, without a cite from Chuck I see no reason to take him at his word that Americans were warned against (chicken) egg consumption in the '70s. It looks like there has been some ongoing research on the matter (see also this study, which I unfortunately cannot access thanks to the paywall).

-----

As a final note, Chuck grasps at one of the most often-used straws in the crank arsenal when arguing on the Internet: the attack on pseudonymity. This fails on the simple point that what makes an argument convincing is whether it is supported by evidence connected together with correct logic. The identity of the person making the argument is of no relevance.

Chuck, despite "bravely" using his real name, has failed to provide either good evidence or good logic to support his arguments. His use of his real name therefore gives him no moral or intellectual superiority over his pseudonymous detractors.

TO: All
RE: Back On-Topic

It's really quiet simple. You either have the courage to test the reality for yourselves. Or you are gutless and bound to the 'word' as preached by people you know lie to you.

The choice is yours.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out....whether or not others accept it.]

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: All
RE: 'Yellow-Bellied'? MOI!!?!??!

....you're too yellow-bellied to come up with a coherent response. -- Narad

When Narad has the courage to (1) go down to his local Army recruiter, (2) volunteer to go Airborne-Ranger and (3) spend 27 years 'in harness', THEN he can talk about me being 'yellow-bellied'.

I'm not holding my breath on that happening.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Based on his comportment here, I suspect I was jumping C130s before his father even DREAMED of jumping a prom date.

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

P.P.S. Furthermore, I think I've spent more time in at T10 than he's spent in his favorite t-shirt.

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

When Narad has the courage to (1) go down to his local Army recruiter, (2) volunteer to go Airborne-Ranger and (3) spend 27 years 'in harness', THEN he can talk about me being 'yellow-bellied'.

I'm beyond enlistment age, Chuck, although there was a time long, long ago when Annapolis was courting me. I have quite a few friends who have risked their lives to serve, and one who lost it. Strangely, none of them are blustering fools.

And I am in fact calling you an intellectual coward. When your "test" fails, then what? You've been asked this repeatedly and simply gone rambling off about something else in response.

@Chuck:

....explain away the Gulf of Tonkin business. PUHLEASE!!!!

The government told a huge lie for a long time, so it always lies about everything?

But, back on topic, take the 'test' I propose and give us your results.

Like I said before, a "heads I win, tails it's a tie" test like that is useless.

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 18 Jun 2011 #permalink

Is it just me, or is it a bit amusing that chuck keeps throwing out these conspiracy theories about how the government is lying to the people, yet he supposedly serves in the military, a government agency?

Novalox, maybe he's lying. He did work for the government, after all.

Chuck's proposed "try it for yourself" study compared with the Leaman and Gorman study, for what it's worth.

Leaman and Gorman's study of cantharis and minor burns
Published in the British journal 'Archives of Emergency Medicine' (1989, 6, 259-261) doi: 10.1136/emj.6.4.259
Randomised? Yes
Blinding? Double blinded
Placebo controlled? Yes
Treatment group size: 17
Control group size: 17
Statistical significance? Yes

Chuck's proposed study
Randomised? No
Blinding? None
Placebo controlled? No
Treatment group size: 1
Control group size: 0
Statistical significance? None

Purpose of randomization
To eliminate selection bias and confounding in treatment assignment.
To facilitate blinding.
To permit statistical analysis of results.

Purpose of double blinding
To prevent the expectations of the participants and those carrying out the study from affecting the outcome.

Purpose of placebo control
To provide a baseline against which the effect of the treatment can be compared.

Conclusion
The Leaman and Gorman study takes several steps to eliminate bias and confounding factors, and has a large enough sample size to allow for meaningful statistical analysis.

Chuck's proposed study takes no steps to eliminate bias or confounding factors, has no control group, and a sample size of one. No matter what the results, they would be statistically meaningless as there is no control group to compare them with.

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 19 Jun 2011 #permalink

Got a comment in moderation (too many links). Hope it comes through soon.

Seriously, Chuck, we don't care what your past career in the military was like. It has absolutely no bearing on the present discussion. If you're stupid enough to think that a sample size n=1, uncontrolled, unblinded "test", coupled with your execrable reasoning (ably lampooned by many here), is sufficient to convince readers around this forum, no amount of military glory is going to cover it up.

@Krebiozen:

Chuck's proposed "try it for yourself" study compared with the Leaman and Gorman study, for what it's worth.

But, but, they're lying Pharma minions! You can't trust them!!!

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 19 Jun 2011 #permalink

@ Novalox: That would be past tense "served in the military...". An indication that this failed in pre-med courses, ignorant, pugnacious flyboy lives in the past, IMO.

Chuckles needs to understand that we are underwhelmed with his knowledge of medicine, concerned about his fixation on gonads and weary of his schoolyard provocative taunts. He needs to go back to the websites on The Rapture and to alt medicine sites where without question, he has some stature; he has zero stature here.

But, but, they're lying Pharma minions! You can't trust them!!!

The A+E Department at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, late 1988. A man with crew-cut hair and wearing a dark suit enters the department. He also wears sunglasses, incongruous with the constant rain of Northern England. He approaches Mr Leaman, the senior registrar, and takes him aside. They exchange words, but we can't quite catch the conversation, though the stranger seems to have an American accent. The registrar visibly pales, and nods frantically as the mysterious stranger hands over a bulky package wrapped in brown paper...

By Krebiozen (not verified) on 19 Jun 2011 #permalink

@Jarred C

Well, that does set up a paradox, doesn't it.

@lilady

Oh yeah, forgot about that part that he said he served in the past.

And if chuck really did apply for med school, with his overall attitude and his lack of understanding of science, I think he would have been laughed out from the admissions office.

Heck, if it wasn't for his postings on other sites, I'd think he'd be a Poe.

Oh, but nova, it wasn't his understanding of science, nor his admittedly sub-Mendoza Line GPA, that kept him out of every med school. It was all those Affirmative Action n*****rs and g**ks that kept him down.

By Doc Rocketscience (not verified) on 19 Jun 2011 #permalink

Not long past, Bora Zivkovic posted a link to this on Facebook:
Narrating Science and Fear | This View of Life

I found this part highly relevant:

People want to understand. They really do. Even those who tout the power of ignorance do so because it is easier to understand a world defined by a lack of knowledge or by rules from on high. The idea that something is good because my ancestors did this and my gut tells me so is a much easier rule than searching through fifty studies on the effects of caffeine on the body and determining the costs and benefits

On top of the ease of ignorance, the narrative arc that we so desperately cling to also tells us to trust the gut, trust the traditions, listen to our parents. There is no traditional narrative to evaluating evidence to find the best course. Even the stories of the great scientists are simplified into leaps of faith and moments of decision rather than the slow accumulation of bits of knowledge into a coherent idea. Think about Newton, what is he known for? By society, I mean, not by scientists. If you asked someone in a coffee shop about Newton, the first thing that they would likely mention would be the story of the apple, the gut instinct or the insight literally falling from above, not the careful thinking that made the insight possible or translatable.

Chuck wants to feel like he understands. This is, well, understandable.

Unfortunately, given how persistently he fails to grasp basic arguments (like "personal experience is not a good test, no matter whose personal experience it is"), I think he's just stuck at the only level he's capable of understanding. But it adds a level of irony -- as if we needed any more, here -- that despite his protestations about "think for yourself! Don't blindly accept what authority has told you!", I suspect this piece is right. For Chuck and people like him, the basis for his worldview and how he interprets everything is seemingly an internalisation of an easy narrative, one which is passed down from his ancestors and people who he presumably has decided to trust because he knows them personally.

Given how embedded this is in general culture, does the hope that there will someday be just as widespread an understanding of the value of careful thinking ever have a chance?

By Luna_the_cat (not verified) on 19 Jun 2011 #permalink

As I've already pointed out, unless chuck did ALL of the ground crew (and technical and logistics and administration) work for himself, then he was relying on other people being competant enough to do things on his behalf.

He spent his entire career depending on other people trying things for him so that his time was freed up to do the things he was paid to do.

You can bet your last dollar that he spent a LOT more time out of craft than he ever did in them, yet he somehow focuses on this only. You can bet Chuck never noticed any of the things that were done on his behalf and for his benefit unless they were done wrong.

In short, Chuck didn't do many things because other people were willing to do them for him. As long as Chuck is willing to risk his health on his own dollar and report on it, there is no reason for any of us to lift a finger to do anything. His joy and willingness to be a guinea pig is the very reason why we can safely ignore his challenge as irrelevant and not needed.

Squeak away little guinea pig.

@ Novalox & Doc Rocketscience: Collectively, we have figured out Chuckles.

He never came near to graduating from college with a degree in "Premed Micro"...which would have enabled him to receive a commission upon entry into the armed services...never achieved a degree while in the armed services and retired as an NCO. My two cousins who both went into the Air Force following within a few years of graduating with BSc-Nursing and BSc-Pharmacy, both received commissions immediately when the joined the Air Force and proceeded up the ranks...They retired as Major and Colonel respectively from the Air Force.

I suppose Chuckles failed career (in it's infancy) has jaded him and he views posters here who actually have science college degrees, masters-level and doctorate degrees and actually work in medical fields, in laboratories and in research as intellectual snobs. What he doesn't realize (or refuses to acknowledge) is that affirmative action never prevented us white folks from getting into programs to advance in our fields of study...because we had minimal or maximal GPAs that got us into such programs.

The closest Chuckles ever got to medical school was when he drove past a university or when he was jumping out of C130s, in near proximity to a medical school. Too bad his back problems were caused by a service-related injury (60 lbs on his back) while making those many heroic jumps...or was the injury caused by reaching for the chocolate to bake a birthday cake for his mother-in-law?

[#402] I did address that. You didn't care. Whose fault is that?

Yeah, your response was "the homoepathic doctor you saw obviously didn't know what he was doing, and he was using the wronfg reference".

My question, which you've studiously avoided answering is "why does that translate to 'homoepathy works'?"

If homeopathy works, how can I tell if I'm wasting my money on a quack cure that does nothing, rather than getting real magic water? Why do the false references exist? Is it because homeopaths can't agree on what the right treatment is for a given condition? If homeopathy "works", why is there all this confusion?

[#409]It's blatantly obvious to the most casual [and objective] observer, as you won't test anything for yourself.

...And if you do test it for yourself, you m,ust have done it wrong, because only positive tests count.

[#437]Whatever you 'see' for yourselves will be fine with me.

So, if someone were to test a homeopathic remedy and get no benefit from it, you'd accept that homeopathy didn't work for them? Or would you argue that the test didn't count, because they were using the "wrong" homeopathy?

[#439]I offered something and everyone here seems to refuse the simple 'test' proffered.

Everyone?

[#455]And you knew they were deliberate lying, and not simply making a mistake, how exactly? -- Grey Falcon
Only government agencies take DECADES to admit to the truth.

So, presumably, you believe that Jews are mistaken in their religious beliefs. They have remained mistaken for approcimately two millennia. Therefore, according to your logic, Judaism is one big government conspiracy, and all Jews are lying about their beliefs. Is that right? Or is it possible for someone to be honestly mistaken for an extended period of time?

When Einstein corrected Newton's theory of Gravity, did that mean that Newton had been lying about how gravity worked, and that the cartoon anvil industry had been covering it up?

[#464]And we have evidence that they were WRONG. For two decades they perpetrated the lies. Despite blatant evidence that they were wrong all that time.

There's evidence from the '70s that showed no health problems from eating eggs? Cite?

[#471]if you haven't the courage to try the 'test' I propose, you're just another one of the 'True Beleivers' I've addressed here.

And if you do try the propoesed test, and get the wrong result, you're also one of the true believers.

By wintermute (not verified) on 20 Jun 2011 #permalink

Dedj, can you please not insult the guinea pigs?

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 20 Jun 2011 #permalink

Hey, chuckles, here's a test for you:

On the rare occasions I burn myself, I apply Neosporin to the area, and within a few minutes, it's significantly better, and results in less scarring.

So, I challenge you to go and buy a tube of Neosporin (they're only a few bucks), and use it next time you accidentally set fire to yourself. If you don't think it works as well as your sugar pills, I promise not to blame it on the cream having been made during the wrong phase of the moon, or the pharmacist wearing the wrong colour tie; I'll just accept your word for it.

As this works for me, if you fail to try it for yourself, that must mean that you're a fraidy-custard who's too chicken to jump out of an aeroplane, and you'll have to turn in your MENSA card for a DENSA one, and you're close-minded and a shill for Big Homeopathy (who are obviously lying about everything in a big government conspiracy, because they said that Natrium muriaticum would cure my headaches), and you just love to suffer, and all the other things you've accused everyone else of, right?

By wintermute (not verified) on 20 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: Gray Falcon [NOTE: Someone who hasn't got the gonads to present his REAL name]
RE: Argument Validity

You claim your arg is no less valid than mine?

Interesting report from someone who hides behind a nom-des-blogs.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The Truth will out....]

P.S. Please specify your 'argument'......that is so 'valid' in your opinion.....

I'll dissect it.....

By Chuck Pelto (not verified) on 20 Jun 2011 #permalink

TO: winterMUTE....not so 'mute' after all, neh?
RE: Neosporin

I swear by the product. Especially since a bout of 'cellulitis', e.g., blood poisoning, after tangling with a wait-a-minute vine while going through that Army-operated 'spa' called the Ranger Course. [NOTE: Ever been there yourself??????? I thought not.]

Just applied some of it myself after accidentally cutting myself while transplanting tomato start-ups in the pots they'l grow in this season on this 1901-old-house 3d floor balcony. [NOTE: It's hard to do veggie gardening in a house surrounded by 100+ year-old trees.

Soooooo.....

.....what's your 'point', anyway?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Stupid, adj., Ignorant and proud of it.]