MP David Tredinnick is Wrong about the Homeopathy Report

quack mp

David ‘cash for questions’ Tredinnick is the MP who liked to buy astrology software and training on expenses. He is a keen supporter of pseudoscience and appears to be heading the charge for homeopaths to discredit the recent House of Commons Evidence Check into homeopathy.

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Evidence Check report into homeopathy will be a reference document for years to come. I have it here in my lap. At 216 pages, it is an invaluable snapshot into, not just the evidence, but the state of thought of UK homeopaths, doctors, critics and business interests associated with the world of this strange alternative medicine.

The conclusions of the report are damning. After appraising the dozens of submissions, the MPs concluded that the theoretical basis of homeopathy was ‘scientifically implausible’, that the evidence was settled on it being a placebo, that further research would be unethical, the NHS should cease funding it, that doctors risked damaging trust by prescribing it and the MHRA licensing of homeopathy should cease.

The Society of Homeopaths were not asked to give oral evidence almost undoubtedly because they failed to submit any evidence in their written submission.

None of this is surprising.

And the response of homeopaths to the report is not surprising either. Various lobbies are desperate to rubbish the report by misrepresenting its conclusions and slurring various participants and evidence providers.

And the homeopaths have found a friend in the absurd MP, David Tredinnick, the man who believes the government should be funding medical astrology and remote energetic healing. They have persuaded the MP to propose an Early Day Motion: a device for backbenchers to influence Commons debates.

Everything in the EDM is just plain wrong. Let’s go through it and see how:

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE REPORT ON HOMEOPATHY

23.02.2010

Tredinnick, David

That this House expresses concern at the conclusions of the Science and Technology Committee’s Report, Evidence Check on Homeopathy; notes that the Committee took only oral evidence from a limited number of witnesses,

Yes, there were only a limited number of witnesses. There was limited time for the hearings and the MPs appear to have selected witnesses who could give evidence most pertinent to the enquiry. We shall see how other witnesses that homeopaths might have liked were most unsuitable.

…including known critics of homeopathy Tracy Brown, the Managing Director of Sense About Science, and journalist Dr Ben Goldacre, who have no expertise in the subject;

It is quite right that on a controversial subject that the MPs should take evidence from those who can set out the accepted scientific view in a disinterested way. Sense About Science are a charity that have been exposing some of the worst excesses of homeopaths, such as their dangerous advice to travellers in malarial areas, and have written a factsheet explaining what homeopathy is. Tracy Brown was clearly very knowledgeable about the legislation surrounding homeopathic product licensing and provided a valuable counterpoint to the MHRA. Ben Goldacre has written a best selling book which discusses the nature of evidence surrounding homeopathy and he regularly lectures in the methods that drug companies and quacks use to misrepresent evidence to promote their products. To describe these people as having ‘no expertise’ is perverse.

…believes that evidence should have been heard from primary care trusts that commission homeopathy, doctors who use it in a primary care setting,

Evidence was indeed heard from a Primary Care Trust that had been commissioning homeopathic treatment. It was the only PCT that had conducted a full review for the rationale of continuing such provision and, as such, decided to cease funding. The report looks at this evidence closely and recommends that the West Kent report is provided to other PCTs that continue to make provision but have not yet had a revue. Conclusion 17 recommends that other PCTs undertake revues as a matter of urgency. That no other PCT submitted evidence is reason enough to understand why no other PCT gave oral evidence.

and other relevant organisations, such as the Society of Homeopaths, to provide balance;

The Society of Homeopaths were not asked to give oral evidence almost undoubtedly because they failed to submit any evidence in their written submission. Their submitted document contains no evidence about homeopathy. Instead it is an appeal to treat homeopathy differently and ignore standard methods of evidence. It is special pleading and utterly worthless when considering if homeopathy is effective or not. It makes them look like fools and it is no wonder they were not called as they are not a credible organisation. The Society also submitted a supplementary document that contradicts established facts about what happened when the BBC exposed them for not upholding their code of ethics.

observes that the Committee did not consider evidence from abroad from countries such as France and Germany, where provision of homeopathy is far more widespread than in the UK, or from India, where it is part of the health service;

The terms of the enquiry were quite clearly to look at the scientific evidence base that formulates government policy towards homeopathy. The policies of other countries obviously play no part. That India spends so much on this quackery and neglects its poor is not evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy but of the negligence of that government.

regrets that the Committee ignored the 74 randomised controlled trials comparing homeopathy with placebo, of which 63 showed homeopathic treatments were effective, and that the Committee recommends no further research;

This is quite simply untrue. The committee looked at all evidence and indeed noted that there were many small trials with low statistical power that poor methodology that could easily mislead, especially if these small trials were ‘cherry picked’. The MPs stated they wished to avoid this analysis and so looked toward systematic reviews of all these trials so as to arrive at more reliable conclusions. These meta-analyses and reviews are now clear: there is no effect from homeopathy. Either David Tredinnick has not read the report or he wishes to misrepresent this most carefully argued part of the document.

further notes that 206 hon. Members signed Early Day Motion No. 1240 in support of NHS homeopathic hospitals in Session 2006-07; and calls on the Government to maintain its policy of allowing decision-making on individual clinical interventions, including homeopathy, to remain in the hands of local NHS service providers and practitioners who are best placed to know their community’s needs.

Indeed, many MPs have been persuaded to support NHS homeopathic provision by their constituents. However, this report is a very carefully argued and persuasive plea that such ideas actually let down patients by misleading them and diverts resources away from sick people who could better benefit. The report looks in detail at the question of patient choice and homeopathy and concludes that patient choice is actually restricted by such provision.

The Society of Homeopaths are undoubtedly behind this EDM. Their press release mirrors the arguments here and makes thoroughly disreputable suggestions about Ben Goldacre. They say he should not have been included because he was a ‘a journalist who was investigated by the Press Complaints Commission for his previous and unsubstantiated comments about homeopaths”. The fact is that the Society made a baseless and shameful complaint to the PCC when Goldacre wrote a critical article on the harms of homeopathy. This is an organisation that cannot deal with criticism.

What is striking is that the MPs condemn the homeopaths for submitting misleading appraisals of the evidence for their trade. Conclusion 13 stated that the promulgation of selective approaches to the treatment of evidence risks confusing the public and policy makers. It would look as if the Society of Homeopaths and other advocates have not taken note of this and choose to continue to attempt to mislead the members of parliament into condemning the report. The Society of Homeopaths are calling for the supporters to write to their MPs to sign this absurd EDM.

I would suggest that you write too. It will take five minutes. Weirdly, many MPs will sign an EDM if they get two letters on the same subject; such is their worry not to offend constituents. EDMs carry little real weight, but the important issue here is that people do not let the charlatans rubbish a thorough and important report before any meaningful debate can take place.

MPs may, of course, not agree with the reports conclusions. That is their job. But to blithely dismiss is as flawed and meaningless without proper appraisal would be a crime given the obvious thoroughness of its approach.

A few emails to each MP would give them pause for thought before blindly accepting the baseless accusations of the homeopaths. All you need to do is point out that David Tredinnick is wrong in what he says. He is misleading people and the report should be examined on its merits.

Please ask your MP not to sign EDM 908.

You can see if your MP has been foolish enough to sign here:

http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=40517&SESSION=903

For a quick and easy way to contact your MP regarding EDM 908:

http://www.writetothem.com/

67 comments for “MP David Tredinnick is Wrong about the Homeopathy Report

  1. March 1, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    Sent an email to my MP
    here it is
    Dear John Howell,
    Recently we were very lucky that the Science & Technology Committee investigated the use of Homeopathy in the UK. It was a balanced and well deliberated investigation. The MP David Tredinnick is Wrong in his call to MPs to sign EDM 908 I do hope that you agree with me, if you so feel you may prefer to write your support to the Chair of the Science & Technology Committee, Phil Willis MP. If we allow opinion to rule the health service in this Country then we will be in trouble. It is science that is needed not non science. I want to point out that many bloggers and famous commentators are keeping an eye on what they call the Stupid list (EDM 908). If you have other Mps that your close to you may want to let them know about this.

    Hope others will send a reply to their MP.

  2. admin
    March 1, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Well done to Richard Wilson for pointing out that one of the first signatures to this EDM is Andrew Dismore who claimed “£34,000 in second home expenses for a west London flat, which hosts his girlfriend’s homeopathy surgery”

    Shameless bastard.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6928010.ece

  3. Richard Rawlins (FRCS)
    March 2, 2010 at 9:00 am

    I am delighted at the success of the referrals of chiropractors to the GCC.

    I would like to see a similar ploy used against the Stupid List of MPs. David Tredinnick in particular.

    To that end, if my local MP for Totnes (Anthony Steen. Con.)signs – I will stand in the general election against him. It only costs £500 for the (possibly)lost deposit.

    Good value to get the issue before the public.

    I do not know Treddinick’s majority or local situation, but is there any rational Quackwatcher out there who would be prepared to stand against him?

    I would be prepared to subscribe to campaign costs.

    Richard Rawlins

  4. Richard Rawlins (FRCS)
    March 2, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Dismore likewise.

    Remember, as a candidate you do not have to get many votes to swing the result. It certainly would wind up this bunch of irrational Mindless Persons. (MPs).

  5. March 2, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Tredinnick and most of his fellow signers also happen to be expenses fraudsters. He and they are well dodgy in many respects.

  6. March 3, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Excellent blogpost.

  7. err, me
    March 3, 2010 at 2:52 am

    so, “David ‘cash for questions’ Tredinnick is the MP who liked to buy astrology software and training on expenses.” and now he wishes to spend NHS funds on something for which he cannot get around to providing evidence – and for which the Society representing the qualified practioners (cough) has also decided insufficient evidence is available to provide written evidence (cough).

    I did like the comedy reference the other day about solutions having memory of substances following incredible dilution being a bit like p*t n**dle having a memory of chicken.
    Wonder if the MPs in question have a ‘memory’ (cough) of their school science lessons? Oh, and can any homeopaths please recommend a good and proven cough remedy?

  8. Richard Rawlins (FRCS)
    March 3, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Further thoughts on the issue of standing against Tredinnick in the general election:

    A candidate does not actually have to submit their application (and cheque for £500)- they merely have to state that is their intention!

    With good PR that should garner publicity in the local press, if not national, and help skewer the issue. Then, just before the closing date for nominations, the ‘candidate’ can withdraw “in favour of…” (Whoever it is most likely to unseat Tredinnick, who has a majority of only 2,900).

    I would be prepared to stand. “The Charlatan Party Candidate, Dr Richard Rawlins, will be standing against David Tredinnick in order to draw attention to the support the sitting MP offers for the expenditure of scarce NHS resources on treatments for which there is no evidence of any significant benefit. “Unless and until the National Institute for Health and Clinical Evidence (NICE) recommends funding for these remedies, homeopathy should not be funded by our NHS” says the doctor”.

    Or some such.

    Any support?

  9. Charlotte
    March 3, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    I’ve also sent a letter to my MP, thanks to Colin above for giving me ideas as to what to put in it!

    The letter I sent was:
    Dear Hugh Bayley,
    Recently the Science and Technology Committee investigated the use of Homoeopathy in the UK. I believe that it was a balanced and thorough investigation, and that the MP David Tredinnick is wrong to call for MPs to sign the EDM 908, which expresses concerns over the findings of the report. I hope you agree with me, if so you may decide to write in support to the Chair of the Science and Technology Committee, Phil Willis MP.

    I feel that it is important not to let popular opinion rule over the health service and that the NHS should not be funding treatments that have been shown to have no significant effect over placebo. I hope you agree and decide not to sign EDM 908, or will at least give the report a fair appraisal.

  10. Felix
    March 3, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    I am not quite sure if we should be warning off MPs from signing the ‘stupid list’ (EDM) or letting them do so and then pouncing on them?

    Here’s my embellishment:

    Dear Andrew Murrison,

    Recently the Science and Technology Committee investigated the use of Homoeopathy in the UK.

    I support fully the findings of the report which was very firm in it’s support of the scientific method and the rights of patients to be fully informed about treatments they are prescribed.

    I believe that it was a balanced and thorough investigation,
    and hope that in writing to you I would be able to counter letters that you may have received condemning the report.

    I feel that it is important not to let uninformed public opinion rule over the health service and that the NHS should not be funding treatments that have been shown to have no significant effect over placebo.

    You will be aware of the EDM being promoted by David Tredinnick (who is a figure of ridicule in the sceptical blogosphere), you may not be aware that the EDM is being regarded as a ‘stupid list’ for MPs deserving of close attention in the coming months. Whilst I am aware of your firm scientific credentials, you may wish to make some of your colleagues aware of this!

    Good luck in your new constituency.

    Yours sincerely,

  11. Felix
    March 3, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    also have written to my prospective Conservative candidate (boundaries are changing):

    Dear Mr Emmanuel-Jones,

    for the past few years I have been happy to have Dr Murrison as my representative, since I know that his views in important areas are similar to my own.

    This evening I have written to Dr Murrison in support of the recent Science and Technology Committee report on Homeopathy (my letter is copied below).

    I would be very pleased if you were able to confirm to me your full endorsement of the report and its recommendations.

    Yours sincerely,

  12. Felix
    March 3, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    p.s. remember to alert the (prospective) MP to the fact that you are a constituent of theirs.

  13. Don
    March 4, 2010 at 1:50 am

    When writing (even by email) to MPs, please try to spell and punctuate correctly. The two examples posted above (Colin and Felix) dilute their sensible messages by being poorly proofread.

  14. davidp
    March 4, 2010 at 6:22 am

    The EDM “notes that the Committee took only oral evidence from a limited number of witnesses” is false. They took written submissions too. Either David Tredinnick is lying or he can’t communicate in English.

  15. Genghis
    March 4, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Many thanks for this, have just emailed my MP (and quoted you extensively)

  16. Alex Kurucz
    March 4, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    I have written before to my MP, Mark Harper, but am aware that he has supported homoeopathy in the past. This is what I wrote:

    Dear Mark Harper,

    I sincerely hope that you will not be signing David Tredinnick’s EDM 908 which seeks to undermine the Science and Technology Select
    Committee report on Homeopathy.

    Yours sincerely,

    Alex Kurucz

  17. Nick
    March 5, 2010 at 2:29 am

    likewise:

    I was pleased to hear of the recent examination of NHS funding and provision of homeopathy by the science and technology committee. On looking for information on its findings, I was concerned find MP David Tredinnick’s early day motion, EDM 908.

    I hope that you will not be signing this motion that seeks to undermine and discredit the report and instead allow it’s evidence based findings to stand on their own merit.

  18. Rita Wing
    March 5, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Its………it’s……..oh dear……never mind, the MP’s probably don’t know the difference, either.

  19. John H
    March 5, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Good blog Canard. Good plan putting the writetothem link in as well. It couldn’t be easier to petition your MP via this site.

    Re some of the above comments:
    1. The system automatically puts your name and address in the letter. If your MP does not recognise you as a constituent from your address I suggest you get rid of him/her
    2. It has a spell checker (although admittedly not a grammar checker)

    My tuppenyworth was:

    Dear Humfrey Malins,

    I would urge you not to lend support to EDM 908.

    This is an attempt to subvert a remarkably well researched piece of evidence.

    The fact that it was raised by an advocate of astrology should raise sufficient doubts about the motives behind a blatant attempt to undermine a parliamentary investigation into mumbo-jumbo and quackery.

    Yours sincerely,
    John

    (Off back to writetothem now to give my councillors and MEPs a hard time)

  20. David L
    March 5, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Here is my tupence worth!

    Dear Barbara Follett,

    Recently the Science and Technology Committee investigated the use of Homoeopathy in the UK. My intention in writing to you is to counter the letters that you may have received condemning the report.

    I support fully the findings of the report, which was firm in its support of the role of the scientific method in Healthcare and also in asserting the rights of patients to be fully informed about the efficacy of the treatments they are prescribed.

    I am confident that you will agree with me that the committee conducted a thorough and balanced investigation of the use of Homoeopathy in the NHS. If you have not already done so I urge you to review the report as I feel that it is important not to let uninformed public opinion rule over the health service and that the NHS should not be wasting funding on treatments that have been shown to have no significant effect over placebo.

    I would also ask you to resist the attempts to support Andrew Dismore’s EDM, which misrepresents the work and findings of the Science and Technology Committee in this matter, and that you will encourage your colleagues to do likewise.

    Yours sincerely

  21. Ali
    March 5, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Ian Paisley has signed the EDM, amazing!

  22. Bellerophon
    March 5, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Wrote to my MP, David Davies, Con, Monmouth and got this reply
    “Conservatives believe that the NHS should not rule out providing alternative therapies. Homeopathy and alternative treatments are are valuable source for Doctors to be able to draw upon…..” And “All therapies should be considered equally”
    In the next constituency, Blaenau Gwent, Dai Davies (Ind labour) has signed the motion.
    Weep!

  23. Mojo
    March 5, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    “All therapies should be considered equally”?

    I thought the homoeopaths wanted theirs considered more equally than others.

  24. Tony F
    March 5, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    My MP is on the list of signers…Now what? I knew he was a lack wit, but still.

    Name and shame..Leigh, Edward.

  25. Nick
    March 5, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Rita: I appear to have a rogue apostrophe (oops) and of course a spell checker would have missed it. I was writing that at 2:30 AM :)

    However, rather than grizzling about such trivia, I wonder if you actually did anything about the issue at hand and wrote to -=your=- MP?

  26. Rita Wing
    March 6, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Yes, it was a bit carping, wasn’t it? I don’t have an MP, as I live in Spain and have done for 25 years. Homeopathy’s creeping in here now – a friend was told to go to a homeopathist BY HER SPECIALIST DOCTOR not long ago. Sorry your beleaguered Health Service has to stump up for this nensense.

    • Rita Wing
      March 7, 2010 at 8:22 am

      ..or nonsense, as the case may be

  27. Jo Browne
    March 7, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I wrote to my MP, Sir George Young, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, as follows:

    Dear George Young,

    I am writing to you concerning EDM 908, proposed by David Tredinnick, and expressing concern about the SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE REPORT ON HOMEOPATHY. I hope you will oppose this EDM.

    I believe that this report deserves a proper appraisal and is not
    flawed as David Tredinnick suggests.

    I would urge you to read the report and form your own view on its
    findings.

    I would further suggest that the evidence from West Kent PCT is
    particularly significant. This is the only PCT that has conducted a
    full review for the rationale of provision of homeopathic treatment
    and, as such, decided to cease funding of such provision. Indeed, the Committee’s report looks at this evidence closely and recommends that the West Kent report is provided to other PCTs that continue to make provision but have not yet had a review.

    Yours sincerely,

    Jo Browne

    I was hugely disappointed by his reply as follows:

    Dear Ms Browne,

    Thank you for your email dated March 3rd regarding homeopathic treatments in the NHS.

    I am aware that there are differing views on the provision of homeopathic remedies, with some arguing that there is not enough evidence to support their availability via the NHS, while others argue that greater access to complementary therapies in the NHS might lead to widespread benefits.

    Conservatives believe that the NHS should not rule out providing alternative therapies. Homeopathy and alternative treatments are a valuable resource for doctors to be able to draw upon when offering treatments. Where a doctor and a patient believe that a homeopathic treatment may be of benefit to the patient, I believe doctors should be free to prescribe that medicine. All therapies should be considered equally, and decisions on whether or not to provide them on the NHS should be evidence-based, as is the case with all other conventional medicines and treatments.

    Best wishes,

    George Young

    So I replied:

    Dear Sir George,

    I am disappointed by your reply. It is not the case that there are ‘some arguing that there is not enough evidence to support their availability via the NHS’. Rather these ‘some’ are arguing that there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that homeopathic remedies are no more effective than placebos. This was the finding of the committee – and why I would urge you to read their report.

    Given that properly conducted studies show that homeopathy is no more effective than placebos, I would suggest that there are better things for the NHS to be spending its money on than ‘sugar pills’.

    It is precisely because I believe that medical treatment should be evidence-based that I urge you to study the committee’s report and to oppose the EDM. There is not a single reputable study that demonstrates the effectiveness of homeopathy. As you say – all therapies should be considered equally. That means not resorting to treatments whose efficacy has been shown to be equal, at best, to a placebo.

    And George Young responded:

    Many thanks for the further email.

    At least he has not signed the EDM!

    • Bellerophon
      March 8, 2010 at 6:38 am

      That is the exact same reply I got from David Davies, word for word. Is this official Con party stance

  28. pv
    March 7, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    It is fair to say that “considering things equally” and “considering things to be equal” are not the same things at all. If your MPs don’t know this then you are all doomed.

    Of course homeopathy and all other quackery should be considered with exactly the same rigour as all real medicine. And when it is it is always found to be… well, quackery – fraudulent medicine.
    But this is not what homeopaths and your MP supporters of homeopathy mean, is it! I think their motivations are more interesting, and more worthwhile pursuing, than their actual support of obvious quackery.

  29. March 7, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    It’s interesting to note that the following lines appear to be a stock phrase among Conservative MP’s:

    “Conservatives believe that the NHS should not rule out providing alternative therapies. Homeopathy and alternative treatments are a valuable resource for doctors to be able to draw upon when offering treatments.”

    And when I say interesting, I actually mean worrying.

    • Katherine
      March 8, 2010 at 2:50 am

      Was beginning to notice that too. Headline: Conservatives Promote Fake Medicine.

  30. pv
    March 8, 2010 at 9:04 am

    “Homeopathy and alternative treatments are a valuable resource for doctors to be able to draw upon when offering treatments”

    No different from saying fake investments and fake profits are valuable resources for financial advisers and stockbrokers to draw upon when offering savings and investment services.
    I mean, why is Bernie Madoff in prison when he was only offering a service for which there was a demand? And most of his clients were perfectly happy most of the time. No-one can deny the positive therapeutic effect of believing one has made big profits…

  31. March 11, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I am a little amused to see the surprise of some of the posters. They don’t know their British political history. The Conservatives have always been against self-appointed elites/ ‘intellectuals’ colluding with a view to restrict patient choice in the NHS. It is perceived by them as arrogant and leftist.
    Whether or not water really has a memory is irrelevant. There is a very long waiting list for the homeopathic hospitals. Not only that there are a number of GPs who quietly refer ‘heartsink’ patients onto homeopaths outside the hospitals. This has been going on for years. The fact remains that there is a considerable demand for homeopaths.

    • Antares
      March 11, 2010 at 12:11 pm

      That should then, however, not be called “conservative” but “populist” or “opportunist”.

      Would you like to extend the NHS coverage to Chanel No. 5 if enough voters demand it?

      /Daniel

  32. March 11, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    If a significant majority in a proper democracy vote for something then of course they should have it by rights. It could be free Noddy books. Anything. Who are you to decide what other people have or don’t have? Who voted Antares into power? Nobody. Not one single vote.
    Words such as ‘populism’ are an absolute giveaway. They are always used by people who imagine that they are superior to others and can organise others lives properly/ ‘correctly’.

    • Antares
      March 11, 2010 at 4:53 pm

      “The majority is always right.”

      As tempting as it is, it is simply not true. The majority can do a lot of stupid things, like voting GW into office and helping Creationism into schools (the US), invest in tulips (Holland, 17th century) or exterminating Jews (Germany).

      The majority also once firmly believed that the Earth was flat and that the stars were moving on crystal spheres.

      Mind you, I am not saying “Antares is always right” – I am merely trying to point out that there is MASSIVE objective evidence that homeopathy is a sham and that it -like most other alternative therapies- is simply a mass delusion.

      It doesn’t cure you. It merely entertains you while your body does the work. And once you feel better, you give all the credit to the ritual instead of your magnificent immune system.

      Why should the quack practitioners then receive government money for work THAT THEY DO NOT DO?

      /Daniel

  33. March 11, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    It seems Antares is getting desperate here. Where did I say “The majority is always right”. Why the quotation marks? Of course the majority can get it wrong, especially when manipulated and unschooled.
    The reason it is essential for self-appointed (scientific) ‘elites’ not to take control is that they will be loath to ever let go and inevitably they will put themselves and their friends first. This is why in modern day Britain most people accept that a pluralist democracy is the best alternative – Even if we end up paying for things we personally don’t see the need for eg rap music on Radio One and in your case homeopathy.
    Pluralism will normally keep the REALLY MAD people away from absolute power. The fundamentalists and extremists of various persuasions. Religious fundamentalists and even quite possibly scientific fundamentalists. It is the best way to avoid bloodbaths and gross economic inefficiency.
    Regarding homeopathy, I accept that homeopaths really ought to demonstrate that they can recognise one remedy from another without reading the bottle…Even if they have to spend months ‘reproving’ them in large groups over months. That so many fail to understand this obvious problem is lamentable. I would also like well-known successful homeopaths of goodwill to come forward and have their practices audited. In both cases there would be all manner of obstacles. Who would want to be the focus of mud-slinging and slander?
    Both exercises would take time, money, organisation, mutual goodwill and trust.

    • Mouse_Nightshirt
      March 18, 2010 at 12:48 am

      With RCTs and scientific research, it’s generally not the “scientific elite” who have power.

      It’s the results of the research.

  34. Antares
    March 11, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Please read your post again: “If a significant majority in a proper democracy vote for something then of course they should have it by rights.”

    Alright, you did not say “always right”, I apologize, but the point remains – if there is no good evidence for its efficacy, then -my opinion- it should not be funded with public money, no matter how many fans it has. And just to be very, very clear: I would also apply the same rules to conventional drugs and treatments.

    Why you are trying so hard to make me an “elitist” or a “scientific fundamentalist” is, however, beyond me. I thought my argument was reasonable. Scientific scrutiny is more or less the opposite of fundamentalism, and the relativism you are trying to establish here is rather depressing: Just because religious (and other supernatural) fundamentalists are deeply convinced of their ideas does not reversely mean that any deep conviction is fundamentalism. Please read about the scientific method and the great cares that are taken NOT to delude oneself before you equate religion with research. (May I suggest this: http://apexnaturalism.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/science_vs_religion.gif )

    OK, it’s late:

    Fact: Homeopathy is nothing but a very convincing placebo. (Good evidence for that, until, very unlikely, proven otherwise)

    Conclusion for serious conditions: Drop the sugar pills and go to a real doctor. Practitioners who claim cure here should face severe consequences.

    Conclusion for minor, self-limiting conditions: Unclear. Does the beneficial placebo response outweigh the serious ethical issues with lying to your patients about efficacy (and science and conventional medicine…)? My personal opinion, at least don’t do it with public money.

    But that’s just me.
    The “proper democracy” will decide, but please allow me to throw in my share of argument.

    Good night
    and best regards,
    Daniel

  35. Mouse_Nightshirt
    March 18, 2010 at 12:46 am

    Got a letter (yes, an actual letter!) from Jim Cousins MP (Labour for Newcastle-upon-Tyne) saying:

    “I can confirm I have not signed this EDM”.

    Came in a house of commons envelope. I feel special :)

  36. db
    March 27, 2010 at 1:04 am

    I got a letter from my MP. I didn’t realise government ministers cannot sign EDMs, but he said he would forward the message to the minister involved.

    Let’s see what happens.

  37. Charlotte
    April 26, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Just wanted to say I have had a letter in response to my email to Hugh Bayley (which I pasted as a comment somewhere above).

    Rather embarrasingly he appears to have misread my letter and thinks I wanted him to sign EDM908! Luckily he appears to have decided to fob off this alternate universe version of me by leaving his reply until it’s too late for him to sign the EDM. He also states that he’s been lobbied on both sides of the issue and that it is his view that therapy decisions should be made on the basis of scientific evidence- so that sounds good.

    Next time I write to an MP I’ll have to be clearer in what I want them to do!

  38. ray
    June 29, 2010 at 8:24 am

    I wrote to my MP, Gareth Johnson (Conservative) and his reply says:

    Thank you for your recent email regarding EDM285. You will be pleased to know that I do not intend to sign this EDM. However I am afraid I will not lobby other MPs to abstain from signing, as it is up to them to decide how best to represent their constituents.

    It could be that it’s because he’s a new MP and doesn’t have the normal Conservative party official lines! But it is good to hear that he won’t sign.

  39. Truth Seeker
    February 23, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    The arguments on this Web page are simply preposterous. They are not just dishonest but also ridiculous. Let me take the arguments one by one.

    (1) EDM 908 expresses concern about the limited number of witnesses. Quackometer replies: “Yes, there were only a limited number of witnesses. There was limited time for the hearings…” So what was the big rush? Did the MPs have to rush home for a tea party with the Queen? Quackometer continues by saying that “the MPs appear to have selected witnesses who could give evidence most pertinent to the enquiry” but provides no logic or evidence to back that up.

    (2) EDM 908 expresses concern that the witnesses who were heard were “including known critics of homeopathy… who have no expertise in the subject”. Quackometer replies: “It is quite right that on a controversial subject that the MPs should take evidence from those who can set out the accepted scientific view in a disinterested way.” So Quackometer is basically saying that “known critics of homeopathy” are arguing “in a disinterested way”. However, once they have a reputation as critics of homeopathy, it stretches the imagination to claim that they are “disinterested”. When did known critics all become saints?

    EDM 908 states that these critics have no expertise in homeopathy, and that may well be correct. That is not to say that they do not have expertise in other subjects, some of which may bear on the hearings. But that is not how I read EDM 908. However, Quackometer rants about the peripheral expertise of the witnesses, claiming that EDM 908 is “perverse” for saying that these witnesses have “‘no expertise’”. But that is a distortion of EDM 908, which only claims “no expertise on the subject”.

    (3) EDM 908 “believes that evidence should have been heard from primary care trusts that commission homeopathy, doctors who use it in a primary care setting”. Quackometer gives another evasive and misleading reply. Quackometer states: “Evidence was indeed heard from a Primary Care Trust that had been commissioning homeopathic treatment. It was the only PCT that had conducted a full review for the rationale of continuing such provision and, as such, decided to cease funding.” So, in fact, the truth is that EDM is correct. Only one PCT was heard, and it was not a PCT that commissions homeopath – not doctors who use homeopathy in a primary care setting.

    (4) EDM 908 calls for evidence from “other relevant organisations, such as the Society of Homeopaths, to provide balance”. What is unreasonable about that? In most systems of justice, the accused have a right to face their accusers. But Quackometer’s reply was: “The Society of Homeopaths were not asked to give oral evidence almost undoubtedly because they failed to submit any evidence in their written submission.” So Quackometer effectively concedes the point in EDM 908. And we have seen other relevant organizations – like the British Homeopathic Association – that do give plenty of evidence on their Web site. Furthermore, the Society of Homeopaths have issued a clarification of just the point that Quackometer presents. It is a very cogent response, with links to evidence in favor of homeopathy. See: http://www.homeopathy-soh.org/whats-new/latest-news/press-releases.aspx

    (5) EDM 908 “observes that the Committee did not consider evidence from abroad from countries such as France and Germany, where provision of homeopathy is far more widespread than in the UK, or from India, where it is part of the health service”. Quackometer comes back with a thoroughly idiotic response. According to Quackometer, “The terms of the enquiry were quite clearly to look at the scientific evidence base that formulates government policy towards homeopathy. The policies of other countries obviously play no part.” Apparently Quackometer believes that homeopathy might work in one country but not in jolly old England. Perhaps Quackometer is worried that all of the rain in London interferes with so-called water memory. :)

    (6) EDM 908 “regrets that the Committee ignored the 74 randomised controlled trials comparing homeopathy with placebo, of which 63 showed homeopathic treatments were effective, and that the Committee recommends no further research”. Quackometer replies: “This is quite simply untrue. The committee looked at all evidence and…” Obviously, the only thing that is “simply untrue” here are the words of Quackometer. Everything mentioned above proves that.

    (7) Finaly EDM 908 “further notes that 206 hon. Members signed Early Day Motion No. 1240 in support of NHS homeopathic hospitals in Session 2006-07; and calls on the Government to maintain its policy of allowing decision-making on individual clinical interventions, including homeopathy, to remain in the hands of local NHS service providers and practitioners who are best placed to know their community’s needs.” And Quackometer finally concedes a point. Quackometer says: “Indeed, many MPs have been persuaded to support NHS homeopathic provision by their constituents.” Presumably the MPs did what you would expect a representative to do – they upheld the interests and desires of those whom they represent.

  40. le canard noir
    February 23, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Do you feel comfortable calling me ‘dishonest’ in your opening paragraph? One thing I find remarkable about supporters of homeopathy is how they find it impossible to assume good faith with their critics.

    To address your points:

    1) Of course the MPs had an agreed limited timetable. The committee has a programme of work to get through – which you can view on line – plus their other duties of MPs.

    2) Homeopaths, by definition, have a vested interest in the outcome of enquiry. Most witnesses did not. That is ‘disinterested’. It is quite possible to be a critic of homeopathy and be intellectually disinterested. You are again showing your inability to assume good faith.

    I would also suggest that it is a quite valid position to take that homeopaths cannot be considered experts in the subject as their beliefs are quite obviously incorrect. If a homeopath cannot fairly and,dispassionately appraise the evidence and science then they cannot be considered as being an expert – merely a lobbyist and a vested interest in their businesses and beliefs. Homeopaths were included to give evidence. But to give undue weight to them would have been thoroughly biased towards a trade interest.

    3) As I say in my post, the only PCT to have conducted a full review of the evidence for providing services was invited to present that evidence. if you can find another PCT that has conducted a similar review and should have been invited, then letme know.

    4) The Society of Homeopaths presented no evidence in their submission to the enquiry. As such, it would appear quite reasonable not to invite them to orally submit that evidence. How can you provide ‘balance’ if you fail to understand the remit of the enquiry and fail to submit a relevant response?

    5) I make it quite clear in my post that the policy decisions of other countries are not evidence about the effectiveness of homeopathy. If some group had wanted to present the evidence base that informed those policies then that might have been relevant, but no submissions covered this.

    6) You fail to understand that the MPs expressed their anger over how such simplistic appraisal of the evidence was deeply misleading and castigated homeopaths for presenting it.It was not ignored as evidence, it is simply very bad and misleading evidence.

    7) That Mps might be persuaded for politcial reasons to sign an EDM does not constitute proof of effectiveness. To think an EDM is in any way significant shows that you do not understand their nature.

    • Truth Seeker
      February 23, 2011 at 9:12 pm

      Do you feel comfortable calling me ‘dishonest’ in your opening paragraph? One thing I find remarkable about supporters of homeopathy is how they find it impossible to assume good faith with their critics.

      First, I don’t even know who you are. Let me call you Canard, because I think I saw that name somewhere on your Web site. Second, I said that your arguments are preposterous – not only dishonest but also ridiculous. I guess it is a fair assumption that this implies that I am calling the author dishonest. So, yes, I feel comfortable with that. It seems to me that you applied a lot of similar labels to homeopaths, who – IMHO – may also be operating in good faith. Why is it that you find it impossible to recognize that?

      To address your points:

      1) Of course the MPs had an agreed limited timetable. The committee has a programme of work to get through – which you can view on line – plus their other duties of MPs.

      So then they could have taken longer to complete their investigation. As I said: What was the big rush? And, I repeat: What is the evidence for your unsubstantiated claim that “the MPs appear to have selected witnesses who could give evidence most pertinent to the enquiry”?

      2) Homeopaths, by definition, have a vested interest in the outcome of enquiry. Most witnesses did not. That is ‘disinterested’. It is quite possible to be a critic of homeopathy and be intellectually disinterested. You are again showing your inability to assume good faith.

      Pardon me, Canard, but that is not true. Reputation or prestige is a powerful vested interest. And the witnesses called to testify had a vested interest no less than any homeopathic practitioner in that respect. As to your charge that I have an inability to assume good faith, what about your own inability to assume good faith on the part of homeopathic practitioners. As the saying goes, before trying to remove the splinter from my eye, you should first remove the log from your eye.

      I would also suggest that it is a quite valid position to take that homeopaths cannot be considered experts in the subject as their beliefs are quite obviously incorrect. If a homeopath cannot fairly and,dispassionately appraise the evidence and science then they cannot be considered as being an expert – merely a lobbyist and a vested interest in their businesses and beliefs. Homeopaths were included to give evidence. But to give undue weight to them would have been thoroughly biased towards a trade interest.

      Here you place the cart before the horse, exposing your dogma. You say that the beliefs of homeopaths are “quite obviously wrong”. Not only does that imply that no homeopath is operates in good faith – an totally OTT accusation – but it arrogantly assumes that your own opinions equate with absolute truth. As for business lobbies, consider the lobby of the allopathic medical establishment. Are we to believe that there was no pressure applied from that side by persons like Ben Goldacre? IMHO, that would be very naive.

      3) As I say in my post, the only PCT to have conducted a full review of the evidence for providing services was invited to present that evidence. if you can find another PCT that has conducted a similar review and should have been invited, then letme know.

      From what I understand, about a third of the PCTs still fund homeopathic treatment (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12492742). Representatives and doctors from any of those PCTs could have been called to submit oral evidence. It is not at all obvious to me that the British Government – a body of professional politicians with by and large no medical training – is more qualified than local doctors to determine the available treatments for their patients.

      4) The Society of Homeopaths presented no evidence in their submission to the enquiry. As such, it would appear quite reasonable not to invite them to orally submit that evidence. How can you provide ‘balance’ if you fail to understand the remit of the enquiry and fail to submit a relevant response?

      Canard, the Society of Homeopaths has already answered this question. According to them, they were not asked to submit such evidence. Rather, they were led to believe that such evidence was not of concern to this inquiry (see: http://www.homeopathy-soh.org/whats-new/latest-news/press-releases.aspx).

      5) I make it quite clear in my post that the policy decisions of other countries are not evidence about the effectiveness of homeopathy. If some group had wanted to present the evidence base that informed those policies then that might have been relevant, but no submissions covered this.

      Perhaps no such submission were presented, because the Committee did not seek them. As I read it – and as I consider it – the point made in EDM 908 is that it was the duty of the Committee to obtain such type of evidence, which presumably would not be a very difficult task for them. The fact that they did not obtain such evidence, much less consider it, suggests scant regard for thorough investigation on the part of the Committee.

      6) You fail to understand that the MPs expressed their anger over how such simplistic appraisal of the evidence was deeply misleading and castigated homeopaths for presenting it.It was not ignored as evidence, it is simply very bad and misleading evidence.

      I have not examined the specific “evidence” in question. Nor have I paid attention to any anger expressed by MPs. I come here as a simple “truth seeker”. As such, I took exception to your own words, Canard – your claim that “the Committee looked at all evidence”. That is patently false, as proven by everything above. For example, if the Committee had really looked at all evidence, they would have heard testimony from doctors in PCTs that still fund homeopathy, and they would have obtained evidence from countries like Germany and India where homeopathy is practiced much more widely than in Britain.

      7) That Mps might be persuaded for politcial reasons to sign an EDM does not constitute proof of effectiveness. To think an EDM is in any way significant shows that you do not understand their nature.

      And yet, Canard, here you have published a Web page for no ostensible purpose other than to criticize EDM 908 and to implore your readers to “please ask your MP not to sign EDM 908″. Canard, if you truly believe what you say – that an EDM is not at all significant – why then do you waste your time and ours with your mudslinging?

      • Truth Seeker
        February 23, 2011 at 9:16 pm

        Sorry, it seems that the angle brackets I used to distinguish my response from the words to which I replied were not maintained. Perhaps it will be easier to read with square brackets.

        Do you feel comfortable calling me ‘dishonest’ in your opening paragraph? One thing I find remarkable about supporters of homeopathy is how they find it impossible to assume good faith with their critics.

        [TS] First, I don’t even know who you are. Let me call you Canard, because I think I saw that name somewhere on your Web site. Second, I said that your arguments are preposterous – not only dishonest but also ridiculous. I guess it is a fair assumption that this implies that I am calling the author dishonest. So, yes, I feel comfortable with that. It seems to me that you applied a lot of similar labels to homeopaths, who – IMHO – may also be operating in good faith. Why is it that you find it impossible to recognize that? [/TS]

        To address your points:

        1) Of course the MPs had an agreed limited timetable. The committee has a programme of work to get through – which you can view on line – plus their other duties of MPs.

        [TS] So then they could have taken longer to complete their investigation. As I said: What was the big rush? And, I repeat: What is the evidence for your unsubstantiated claim that “the MPs appear to have selected witnesses who could give evidence most pertinent to the enquiry”? [/TS]

        2) Homeopaths, by definition, have a vested interest in the outcome of enquiry. Most witnesses did not. That is ‘disinterested’. It is quite possible to be a critic of homeopathy and be intellectually disinterested. You are again showing your inability to assume good faith.

        [TS] Pardon me, Canard, but that is not true. Reputation or prestige is a powerful vested interest. And the witnesses called to testify had a vested interest no less than any homeopathic practitioner in that respect. As to your charge that I have an inability to assume good faith, what about your own inability to assume good faith on the part of homeopathic practitioners. As the saying goes, before trying to remove the splinter from my eye, you should first remove the log from your eye.[/TS]

        I would also suggest that it is a quite valid position to take that homeopaths cannot be considered experts in the subject as their beliefs are quite obviously incorrect. If a homeopath cannot fairly and,dispassionately appraise the evidence and science then they cannot be considered as being an expert – merely a lobbyist and a vested interest in their businesses and beliefs. Homeopaths were included to give evidence. But to give undue weight to them would have been thoroughly biased towards a trade interest.

        [TS] Here you place the cart before the horse, exposing your dogma. You say that the beliefs of homeopaths are “quite obviously wrong”. Not only does that imply that no homeopath is operates in good faith – an totally OTT accusation – but it arrogantly assumes that your own opinions equate with absolute truth. As for business lobbies, consider the lobby of the allopathic medical establishment. Are we to believe that there was no pressure applied from that side by persons like Ben Goldacre? IMHO, that would be very naive.[/TS]

        3) As I say in my post, the only PCT to have conducted a full review of the evidence for providing services was invited to present that evidence. if you can find another PCT that has conducted a similar review and should have been invited, then letme know.

        [TS] From what I understand, about a third of the PCTs still fund homeopathic treatment (see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12492742). Representatives and doctors from any of those PCTs could have been called to submit oral evidence. It is not at all obvious to me that the British Government – a body of professional politicians with by and large no medical training – is more qualified than local doctors to determine the available treatments for their patients.[/TS]

        4) The Society of Homeopaths presented no evidence in their submission to the enquiry. As such, it would appear quite reasonable not to invite them to orally submit that evidence. How can you provide ‘balance’ if you fail to understand the remit of the enquiry and fail to submit a relevant response?

        [TS] Canard, the Society of Homeopaths has already answered this question. According to them, they were not asked to submit such evidence. Rather, they were led to believe that such evidence was not of concern to this inquiry (see: http://www.homeopathy-soh.org/whats-new/latest-news/press-releases.aspx).[/TS]

        5) I make it quite clear in my post that the policy decisions of other countries are not evidence about the effectiveness of homeopathy. If some group had wanted to present the evidence base that informed those policies then that might have been relevant, but no submissions covered this.

        [TS] Perhaps no such submission were presented, because the Committee did not seek them. As I read it – and as I consider it – the point made in EDM 908 is that it was the duty of the Committee to obtain such type of evidence, which presumably would not be a very difficult task for them. The fact that they did not obtain such evidence, much less consider it, suggests scant regard for thorough investigation on the part of the Committee.[/TS]

        6) You fail to understand that the MPs expressed their anger over how such simplistic appraisal of the evidence was deeply misleading and castigated homeopaths for presenting it.It was not ignored as evidence, it is simply very bad and misleading evidence.

        [TS] I have not examined the specific “evidence” in question. Nor have I paid attention to any anger expressed by MPs. I come here as a simple “truth seeker”. As such, I took exception to your own words, Canard – your claim that “the Committee looked at all evidence”. That is patently false, as proven by everything above. For example, if the Committee had really looked at all evidence, they would have heard testimony from doctors in PCTs that still fund homeopathy, and they would have obtained evidence from countries like Germany and India where homeopathy is practiced much more widely than in Britain.[/TS]

        7) That Mps might be persuaded for politcial reasons to sign an EDM does not constitute proof of effectiveness. To think an EDM is in any way significant shows that you do not understand their nature.

        [TS] And yet, Canard, here you have published a Web page for no ostensible purpose other than to criticize EDM 908 and to implore your readers to “please ask your MP not to sign EDM 908″. Canard, if you truly believe what you say – that an EDM is not at all significant – why then do you waste your time and ours with your mudslinging?[/TS]

        • Le Canard Noir
          February 24, 2011 at 1:32 am

          Truth Seeker – First of all, I would challenge you to find anywhere on my blog where I call someone dishonest without sound reason. Anyone. Anywhere.

          Dishonesty implies deliberate deception. Where have I been deliberately deceptive in this post? State where, or have the honesty to withdraw your remark.

          To respond to your points…

          1) You are being daft. What was the proper amount of time do you think MPs should have devoted to this subject? No matter what time you suggest, someone could always argue they should have made more time for their special witness.

          2) The other witnesses may well have had reputations to uphold. If they had been shown to be wrong or foolish they would have indeed lost out. Did they? I think though you would be hard pressed to suggest this is equivalent to someone’s livelihood being at stake.

          I do not ‘equate with absolute truth’. I base my opinions on verifiable facts. That is quite different.

          For example, what evidence do you have that Ben Goldacre is a ‘lobbyist’ for ‘allopathic medicine’? None, I would suggest. It is a deliberate unevidenced smear. Indeed, Goldacre regularly attacks Big Pharma in his column (far more than homeopaths), his book Bad Science covered the evils of drug companies, and I believe his new book will solely be about bad things that pharma gets up to.

          I am used to homeopaths seeing the world one-dimensionally though and so I can see how you must assume Goldacre is a shill – despite having no evidence and, indeed, lots of contradictory evidence, if you looked for it.

          3) Which doctors that submitted to the enquiry should have been called? Can you name one that submitted evidence?

          4) I have in front of me the MPs report into homeopathy. It is A4 and an inch thick. I have read it. Have you?

          In it, I can see the Society of Homeopaths submissions. They failed to discuss the evidence for homeopathy and its relation to public policy – the themes of the enquiry. No wonder they were not called. They simply did not show they understood what they were asked to provide. Other people managed to ‘get it’. Why not SoH?

          Instead of submitting evidence, they wrote about how the very concept of evidence should be specially changed to suit them. As such, they looked foolish. You are simply wrong about this. But no doubt will pretend otherwise, heh, ‘Truth Seeker’? (oh, and the SoH press release does not say what you claim.)

          5) What rubbish. The committee sought input from all interested parties. As I say, the final report is an inch thick with submissions from all sorts. Will you admit you are yet again wrong?

          6) Once again – have you read the report? If not, can you say that they did not consider all evidence? Remember, the oral submissions were just one, rather small, part of the overall evidence gathered.

          So, have you read it? All 260+ pages? Yes or no?

          7) The EDM is interesting, not because it is politically important, but because of how people like you have responded to the report. They have not read and make knee jerk reactions. Anything to discredit it.

          How is that Truth Seeking?

        • Mojo
          February 24, 2011 at 12:47 pm

          “First, I don’t even know who you are. Let me call you Canard, because I think I saw that name somewhere on your Web site.”

          So never mind the report, you haven’t even read this page.

          • Truth Seeker
            February 24, 2011 at 1:58 pm

            Mojo, I am not responding to any HoC report – I am responding to the blog article on this page that has been credited to “Le Canard Noir”. I read that article in full and responded to it in detail.

            Other than that, on this page, I saw a small box on the left sidebar that says: “The Quackometer has been developed by Andy Lewis.” FWIW, I tested the Quackometer on three names: David Tredinnick, Ben Goldacre, and Andy Lewis. All three names received the same 2 canards: “This person has significant Quackery associated with them on the web!” Very insightful. :)

  41. Truth Seeker
    February 24, 2011 at 6:50 am

    [TS]Canard, please see below.[/TS]

    Truth Seeker – First of all, I would challenge you to find anywhere on my blog where I call someone dishonest without sound reason. Anyone. Anywhere.

    [TS]Canard, your blog is called “Quackometer”. Its very purpose is to label people “quacks”, that is, charlatans. After seeing your response to EDM 908, it is clear to me that you have scant regard for the facts. Your notion of “sound reason” is just anything that coincides with your prejudice.[/TS]

    Dishonesty implies deliberate deception. Where have I been deliberately deceptive in this post? State where, or have the honesty to withdraw your remark.

    [TS]Canard, even your responses to me are dishonest and apparently deliberately so.[/TS]

    To respond to your points…

    1) You are being daft. What was the proper amount of time do you think MPs should have devoted to this subject? No matter what time you suggest, someone could always argue they should have made more time for their special witness.

    [TS]Canard, the principles of justice require a fair hearing for any accused, however long that may take.[/TS]

    2) The other witnesses may well have had reputations to uphold. If they had been shown to be wrong or foolish they would have indeed lost out. Did they? I think though you would be hard pressed to suggest this is equivalent to someone’s livelihood being at stake.

    [TS]Canard, that would depend on whether their livelihood relies on people having confidence in what they say.[/TS]

    I do not ‘equate with absolute truth’. I base my opinions on verifiable facts. That is quite different.

    [TS]Canard, the question is whether you examine all of the facts or just the facts that match your prejudice. Those who claimed that the earth is flat also based their opinion on verifiable facts. They just did not have enough facts.[/TS]

    For example, what evidence do you have that Ben Goldacre is a ‘lobbyist’ for ‘allopathic medicine’? None, I would suggest. It is a deliberate unevidenced smear. Indeed, Goldacre regularly attacks Big Pharma in his column (far more than homeopaths), his book Bad Science covered the evils of drug companies, and I believe his new book will solely be about bad things that pharma gets up to.

    [TS]Okay, Canard, here is a verifiable fact for you. Where did I ever refer to Ben Goldacre as a “lobbyist”? Above, I mentioned that even if your opinions are based on verifiable facts, you clearly do not take trouble to get enough facts. Here you show that you do not even take trouble to verify your “verifiable facts”.[/TS]

    I am used to homeopaths seeing the world one-dimensionally though and so I can see how you must assume Goldacre is a shill – despite having no evidence and, indeed, lots of contradictory evidence, if you looked for it.

    [TS]Canard, here you imply that I am a “homeopath”. Do you have any “verifiable facts” to support that opinion?[/TS]

    3) Which doctors that submitted to the enquiry should have been called? Can you name one that submitted evidence?

    [TS]Canard, once you call this an “enquiry”, the burden of gathering facts is clearly upon the inquirers and no one else. You shift that burden; and, in so doing, you do a grave injustice to science. Your approach is mere quackery. It is the equivalent of declaring a cure for AIDS and inviting the general public to submit contrary facts. When no one bothers to respond to your call for submissions – perhaps due to a lack of information about your alleged cure or the nature of your request – then you announce that you have proof of the efficacy of your remedy. Sheer nonsense – that is what you purvey.[/TS]

    4) I have in front of me the MPs report into homeopathy. It is A4 and an inch thick. I have read it. Have you?

    [TS]Canard, I have the PDF file on my computer. It is 1.6MB and 275 pages long. I have read enough of the document to know that I am not interested to read all of it. If you have read all of it, then perhaps you have too much spare time on your hands. :)[/TS]

    In it, I can see the Society of Homeopaths submissions. They failed to discuss the evidence for homeopathy and its relation to public policy – the themes of the enquiry. No wonder they were not called. They simply did not show they understood what they were asked to provide. Other people managed to ‘get it’. Why not SoH?

    [TS]Canard, I am not a spokesperson for the SoH. However, twice I posted here a link to the response of the SoH to that very question. For someone who claims to base his opinions on facts, you really do not show much interest in examining facts that run contrary to your prejudice. Again, if you want an answer to that question, then presumably the best person to get it from is the SoH themselves. And, fortunately, the SoH have provided an answer on their Website at: http://www.homeopathy-soh.org/whats-new/latest-news/press-releases.aspx As it is now abundantly clear that your interest in facts does not go so far as to actually click an HTML link, let me quote what the SoH says in their press statement.


    The Society of Homeopaths, the UK’s largest regulator of homeopaths, roundly rejects the findings of the House of Commons Science & Technology Committee Evidence Check: Homeopathy and has grave concerns about the processes that led to its report issued today.

    Central to these concerns was a clarification issued at the outset of the oral evidence check by the Chair of the Committee itself, Phil Willis MP, who stated :

    “…because there seems to be a little confusion about the nature of the work that we are doing, this is not an inquiry into whether homeopathy works or not. This is an inquiry which follows a series of evidence checks across a number of government departments to see whether in fact there was any evidence to support the Government’s policy towards homeopathy. I want to make that absolutely clear.”

    Nevertheless, what then followed was clearly an inquiry into whether homeopathy works or not…
    …[/TS]

    Instead of submitting evidence, they wrote about how the very concept of evidence should be specially changed to suit them. As such, they looked foolish. You are simply wrong about this. But no doubt will pretend otherwise, heh, ‘Truth Seeker’? (oh, and the SoH press release does not say what you claim.)

    [TS]Canard, I have no idea what you think I am claiming. However, the press statement at the link that I have now three times posted here begins with the words that I quote above.[/TS]

    5) What rubbish. The committee sought input from all interested parties. As I say, the final report is an inch thick with submissions from all sorts. Will you admit you are yet again wrong?

    [TS]Canard, as a seeker of truth, it would be hard for me to admit that I am “yet again wrong” when you have not yet shown that I have made a mistake nor have I yet acknowledged any mistake (something I would do if it were shown or I discovered that it is so). But perhaps in your mind those fictional events – you overcoming any of my arguments and I accepting your kind correction – may have taken place. In that case, in your mind, feel free to also imagine me admitting that I am “yet again wrong”.[/TS]

    6) Once again – have you read the report? If not, can you say that they did not consider all evidence? Remember, the oral submissions were just one, rather small, part of the overall evidence gathered.

    [TS]Canard, common sense will tell you that it is not necessary to read the report to contradict your assertion that the Committee “considered all evidence”. For example, you yourself have admitted that the Committee did not seek or consider evidence from other countries. And you even stated in your blog piece as follows: “Yes, there were only a limited number of witnesses. There was limited time for the hearings and the MPs appear to have selected witnesses who could give evidence most pertinent to the enquiry.” Logically, that is a clear statement – admission – by you that the Committee did not “consider all evidence”. Canard, for you to now claim that the Committee did “consider all evidence” is simply… well… confusing. Oh, heck, let me say it. If you have indeed read the entire report as you seem to be claiming, then one of your two statements – either that the Committee considered “all evidence” or that the Committee “appear to have selected witnesses who could give evidence most pertinent to the enquiry” – must be false. I wonder: Is that sound enough evidence to describe you as dishonest?[/TS]

    So, have you read it? All 260+ pages? Yes or no?

    [TS]Canard, I don’t know why you think you have to ask me the same question twice when I was happy enough to answer this question the first time. I repeat: “I have the PDF file on my computer. It is 1.6MB and 275 pages long. I have read enough of the document to know that I am not interested to read all of it. If you have read all of it, then perhaps you have too much spare time on your hands. :)”[/TS]

    7) The EDM is interesting, not because it is politically important, but because of how people like you have responded to the report. They have not read and make knee jerk reactions. Anything to discredit it.

    [TS]Canard, your original statement was: “To think an EDM is in any way significant shows that you do not understand their nature.” And yet now you tell us that this EDM is “interesting” and that it has significance “because of how people have responded to the report”. As the EDM is also a response to the report of the HoC Committee, your argument is somewhat circular. In any event, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. Either EDMs are significant or they are not. Make up your mind.[/TS]

    How is that Truth Seeking?

    [TS]Canard, at the very least, it is truth seeking in so far as I am obliged to wade through all of your self-contradictions and pretensions. “Le Canard Noir presents: A Cure for All Known Nonsense”. To that my response is: Sheer quackery – physician, heal thyself.[/TS]

    • Le Canard Noir
      February 24, 2011 at 10:57 am

      ‘Truth’ Seeker

      Let’s stick to some facts.

      1) I make it quite clear in my intro that quackery is not about dishonesty – it is about wrong ideas, supestition, delusion – only sometime charlatanism. You have failed to show that I call people dishonest, as you claim. Have you the courage to apologise?

      2) You call me dishonest. Yet, you have failed to show any statement I have made was deliberately misleading. Nothing. As I said, I find it amazing that supporters of homeopathy cannot see that their critics are acting in good faith. You have to see us as nasty in order to protect your own worldview. Again, will you apologise, or state exactly where and why you think I am dishonest?

      3) The enquiry was not a court of law. There was no-one to put to a ‘fair hearing’ and no-one was accused of anything. Your moan that justice was denied is a rather hollow complaint.

      4) Yes. All facts need to be considered. The MPs pointed out that they were appalled at how submissions from homeopaths failed to do this – cherry picking only favourable points and ignoring the science that casts serious doubts on homeopathy. Can you describe the evidence that would overrule the conclusions of basic science and the evidence from metaanalyses?

      5) You clearly associate Goldacre with lobbyists. Perhaps you are losing track of your own arguments here. Would you like to withdraw your smear given that you have no evidence for it?

      6) As you state, you have not read the report. You are repeating second or third hand criticisms of a report you cannot even be bothered to understand. If you looked at the report, you will see that there were over 50 responses, and from those, oral evidence was taken from homeopathic doctors such as Peter Fisher and Robert Mathie and homeopathic producers, sellers and pharmacists Robert Wilson and Paul Bennett. It is absurd to suggest the report did not seek wide input. The report contains quotes and input both from writter and oral submissions. You are clutching at non-existent straws.

      7) The Society of Homeopaths fail to understand what the enquiry was about: it was about the evidence for homeopathy and how it was being used in government policy. Yes – it was not a simple enquiry into whether homeopathy worked or not – but how that evidence was used in policy making. Part of that should be an understanding of the strength of evidence. The Society, in their whiny response, completely miss the point – as do you.

      If you wish to continue, I would suggest first – you provide evidence for my dishonesty here, or retract. Evidence that I call any individual homeopath dishonest, without sound reason, or retract.

      Are you a person of courage and integrity? Or are you going to hide behind your pseudonym and continue with your bluster?

  42. D. Smith
    February 24, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Andy, what happened to the last reply from Truth Seeker? I noticed it for a minute, but had no time to read it. Now it is gone. Are you censoring replies to this blog?

    • Le Canard Noir
      February 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm

      No. Some odd behaviour. replies in odd order too.

  43. Mojo
    February 25, 2011 at 9:48 am

    “(6) EDM 908 “regrets that the Committee ignored the 74 randomised controlled trials comparing homeopathy with placebo, of which 63 showed homeopathic treatments were effective…”

    Those would be the trials mentioned in the evidence submitted by Robert Mathie on behalf of the BHA, which can be seen in the report (Ev 38 at paragraph 3.2.1).

    Another thing that EDM really ought to have regretted is that the EDM itself seems to have ignored the 68 trials that the BHA’s evidence categorised as “not statistically conclusive”. Judging from material on the BHA website, and Mathie’s 2003 paper “The research evidence base for homeopathy: a fresh assessment of the literature” Homeopathy (2003) 92, 84–91 (the BHA’s figures seem to be an updated version of figures from this paper) these 68 trials (to quote from the 2003 paper) are those “that fail to discern any inter-group differences” between the homoeopathy group and the control group.

  44. Badly Shaved Monkey
    February 25, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Truth Seeker

    I think I can see your problem. Let me solve it for you.

    HOMEOPATHY DOES NOT WORK

    Anyone who thinks it does is a fool. Anyone who sells homeopathic remedies is either a fool or a crook. There is no third option.

    The entire basis of your posts is that support of homeopathy is a reasonable position, arguable from logic and supported by facts. It is neither. Discussion of homeopathy does not require ‘balance’ from its supporters. As LCN has said, claimed expertise in homeopathy is itself a disqualification from being take seriously, or at least it should be if we were governed on rational principles.

    Should government policy on burglary take into account the interests of the members of the house-breaking community and their paid representatives?

  45. Truth Seeker
    March 15, 2011 at 9:15 am

    It would be interesting to read the reply of Andy Lewis or Canard to the double-blind experiment of Dr. Iris Bell, described at http://www.naturalnews.com/031353_fibromyalgia_homeopathy.html. And it would be interesting to read either of their comments on the video of Dr. Bell at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYO6nNQGe1M. I also wonder whether the HoC Committee really found nothing of interest in all of the research shown at http://nationalcenterforhomeopathy.org/articles-research. Presumably they reviewed of of that material, because Canard tells us that “the Committee looked at all evidence”.

    • Le Canard Noir
      March 15, 2011 at 10:19 am

      Perhaps you would like to point to where these resuts have been independently replicated? We may then take them a little more seriously.

  46. chrisparis
    May 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I can’t believe this thread. Part from ONE all the rest of you are very strongly in support of the report which supports the idea the homeopathy is nonsense.

    You have completely missed the point. This is not about what happens in the NHS. What I am concerned about is my RIGHT TO CHOOSE HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT.

    If you lot get your way I will loose that right, which surely you cannot seriously argue that I have no right to have.

    It is not empirical, or rational or logical or evidence based or scientific or any of that crap, to deny ME THE CHOICE. YOUR JUST FUCKIN NAZIS. WAKE UP AND SEE WHAT YOUR DOING, THIS IS A BIGGER ISSUE AT STAKE HERE.

    You may think, and maybe right to think homeopathy is rubbish. And you may have a point, that state institutions should not support it with public money, but surely if I want to obtain it through a homeopath privately, you can not deny my that choice can you ?

    Please let me have my silly foolish ways, and not have to be a slave to YOUR reality view. This is just another form of oppression. There is enough of that going on isn’t there ?

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