The End of Homeopathy

Homeopaths have been in a panic over the MHRA’s activities in cleaning up existing medicines’ law. MPs have been bombarded with desperate,but misleading claims,that the law isbeing changed and that they will be put out of business.

The law is not being changed. But they may well indeed be out of business soon.

The MHRA has issued its own response to this campaign.

They say,

UK medicines legislation (including for homeopathy) is being consolidated. The law is not being changed. The consolidation will happen through the Human Medical Regulations 2012, which were due to come into force in July 2012. They will be laid under the negative resolution procedure.

Some homeopathic practitioners are concerned that following the consolidation the law will be enforced. They believe that this could end the sale of unauthorised homeopathic medicines over the internet and telephone. They are seeking a change in UK law.

In 2010 the Science and Technology Select Committee examined Government policy on homeopathy. It found that homeopathic products are placebos, it questioned whether their use in the NHS was ethical and it called for changes to their regulation. The report received vociferous support and opposition from a number of groups.

The Government responded that it agreed with “many” of the Committees conclusions, but it rejected substantive changes to regulation or policy.

Unfortunately, not changing regulation is very bad news for homeopaths because the consolidated regulations will be very clear in showing that much of homeopathic commercial activity is illegal.

The MHRA note that Neal’s Yard Remedies have written that,

If Section 10 is not changed or amended, and is enforced in the future, access to unlicensed homoeopathic remedies will be restricted to receiving them in person from a specialist pharmacy with expertise in homoeopathy. This would be unworkable as far as patient choice and access is concerned for the 10% of the population that use homoeopathy in the UK

It should be remembered, of course, that Neal’s Yard were exposed by the BBC of selling unregistered products to treat and and prevent malaria, an action that puts lives directly at risk. They issued misleading PR about this until the MHRA stopped them selling. That Neal’s Yard might face further restrictions is not a bad thing.

The MHRA also note that this is not a one-sided argument,

Some anti-homeopathy and science bloggers have responded to the concerns raised by homeopaths. For example, the Quackometer website, which has outspoken views on evidence in healthcare and is very critical of homeopathy, has provided its own analysis of the implications for homeopathy. This can be seen here.

The Nightingale Collaboration recently called for homeopathic remedies to be subject to the same regulation as other products that make health claims:

We do not believe that there is any justification for treating homeopathic products any differently to any other product that makes claims to alleviate, treat or cure any medical condition and find it regrettable that special privileges have been awarded to homeopathic products for thirty years. In the interests of protecting the public from misleading claims and allowing them to make fully informed choices, such privileges should be revoked

Glad I can be of service.

So, can the homeopath’s campaign to change the law be successful?

The MHRA are quite clear,

Directive 2001/83/EC states that no medicinal product can be placed on the market unless it has a marketing authorisation.7 Unauthorised medicines can only be supplied when “formulated in accordance with the specifications of an authorised health-care professional and for use by an individual patient under his direct personal responsibility”.

This may mean that EU law would have to be changed to allow unauthorised homeopathic medicines to be available over the telephone or internet.

The MHRA state that even if a change were possible, it could not be done in any reasonable time frame.

So, that’s it then. Game over.

Homeopathy, as practiced in the UK, is illegal.

And will remain so.

A few registered products might be continue to be sold legally. If this makes a good business. Some more remedies might be registered. But not quickly enough to save their skins.

The blogger Malleus Homeopathicum has been quite right in his analysis of the situation. It is the end of homeopathy in the UK.

Of course, they will struggle on. They will rage and fume and pretend the law does not apply to them. But its not sustainable. And it may get bloody.

Some may try to practice within the law by only selecting one of the few registered products. But to remove most of their remedies is a blow to the very heart of how they define themselves. Homeopaths believe they must select the right remedy. Being unable to legally supply that remedy stops them being homeopaths.

The people responsible are not bloggers like me. It is the homeopaths themselves. They failed to ensure their trade was placed on a firm legal footing. They had thirty years to get this right. Their panic in the last few weeks is no substitute. It is a failure of leadership, diligence and competence.

Just like how they practice medicine. Without diligence and competence.

I shall now find something else to occupy  my evenings.

 

203 comments for “The End of Homeopathy

  1. Martinb
    June 26, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Homeopaths have two choices (the same as everyone else, lest they whine about being targeted):

    1) continue to claim that the actual substances offer medical benefit (ie pharmacological impact), in which case they will be regulated as pharmaceuticals

    2) decline to be regulated as medicines, in which case they must stop claiming that they offer medical benefit

    To be strictly fair, they can claim their actual benefit as placebos, which is not a null benefit

    And all the same applies to stuff marketed by big pharma…

    • Tor
      June 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      Takk for nok en god artikkel. I norske medier er dette en en sak som får stor oppmerksomhet om dagen. “Xocai-sellers using dirty trics to silence critics” http://venstresida.net/?q=node%2F3270

      • Tor
        June 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm

        Thank you for a good article. In the Norwegian media, this is a an issue that receives considerable attention during the day. Xocai-sellers overusing dirty tric two silence Critics (article translated from Norwegian)http://venstresida.net/?q=node%2F3270

    • jane
      July 2, 2012 at 9:57 pm

      There is a reason why millions of people around the world are choosing alternatives to mainstream medicine. Here’s one very good one from the FDA website.
      http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/DevelopmentResources/DrugInteractionsLabeling/ucm114848.htm
      Wake up sheeple, stop wasting your time attacking alt med. and ask yourself who is doing the most harm. Answer is clearly in the link. Sure alt med is an easy target, much easier than attacking massive corporations who would sue you at the drop of a hat. What a bunch of pathetic cowards you are.

      • Andy Lewis
        July 2, 2012 at 10:35 pm

        You said ‘sheeple’. You lose.

        • jane
          July 2, 2012 at 11:03 pm

          Oh come on Andy, as a proponent of critical thinking you can do better than that surely. I thought one of your aims is “to debate what is good evidence and what is rubbish.” What say you to my evidence?

          • Andy Lewis
            July 2, 2012 at 11:40 pm

            That significant problems exist in real medicine does not mean homeopathy works.

          • jane
            July 3, 2012 at 12:59 am

            You’ve lost Andy-Homeopathy is going to continue and the law is right behind it. And what’s more there’s nothing you can do about it other than continue to rant on inanely about what is essentially a totalitarian view of healthcare.

          • Andy Lewis
            July 3, 2012 at 5:50 am

            Jane. I wouldn’t be so sure.The current regime has not been changed by homeopaths. The government does not enforce the regulations. The arms-length MHRA does. It has obligations. We shall see.

          • Avijit
            July 3, 2012 at 9:00 am

            Andy

            Are you justifying deaths as part of treatment package with real medicine?

          • July 3, 2012 at 9:53 am

            No. The supply of unregistered homeopathic medicines still remains illegal.

          • jane
            July 3, 2012 at 12:02 pm

            I guess my point in this case Andy is to highlight that the biggest fraudsters in healthcare are the ones in the mainstream.
            Your blog is misdirected…
            http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jul/02/glaxosmithkline-drug-fraud?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038

            …and of course this case is just the tip of the iceberg.

            If this blog is really about-in your own words…
            “Quackery, in the broadest terms, is “anything involving overpromotion in the field of health…Quackery is often, but not always, linked to health fraud where there is “the promotion, for profit, of a medical remedy known to be false or unproven.”…

            Then go for the big boys, not individuals who for the most part invest their own time and money in real healing.

            Out of the mouth of one of our greatest scientific geniuses came this:
            “It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing — a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind.”
            But you know best eh and anyone talking about healing the energy of the human body is to your mind a quack. Oh well, I guess it is a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind.

          • Mojo
            July 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm

            “It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing — a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind.”
            But you know best eh and anyone talking about healing the energy of the human body is to your mind a quack.

            Yes. Or at least someone who doesn’t know what the word “energy” means.

          • Andy Lewis
            July 3, 2012 at 3:20 pm

            Jane – I am sorry if my chosen topic for this blog, superstitious and pseudoscientific medical beliefs, disappoints you. Please give me a list of all the evils in the world that you would like to see solved until you feel it might be appropriate for me to write about the shortcomings of homeopathy.

            You see, mainstream medicine has a solid foundation of a culture of critical self-appraisal. Journals are full of critical articles. And practices do change when evidence emerges. And evil corporations pay fines when caught. Alt med is free from such introspection and insight. That is one reason I find it fascinating.

            And, yes, you do not understand the concept of energy. If you can define what you mean by ‘healing energy’, how you might recognise it, tell when it is there, tell how much of it there is, then you might have a point. But your use of the word ‘energy’ does not enlighten, it is merely designed to stop conversation.

          • jane
            July 3, 2012 at 6:23 pm

            Andy, healing energy is like love. I can no more definitively answer your questions on ‘how you might recognise it [healing energy], tell when it is there, tell how much of it there is’ than I could answer those same questions on love. Can you? You might be able to offer an opinion but it will not be definitive. Energy, like love, by its very nature has no boundaries. I know healing energy is definitely not your thing but we all feel love. Can we quantify, measure it? No we can’t, it is something we all feel though. I realise that this will not be acceptable to you but do you accept that there are things in this world that we cannot quantify and measure and yet they exist? If you cannot accept that, then I am sorry for you as you must then not have any love in your life.
            Yes you are free to blog about the shortcomings of homeopathy as much as you like but I initially understood that your website was aimed at fraudulent persons and activities in healthcare. Since every major newspaper around the world has today reported the latest GlaxoSmithKline scandal as the largest case of healthcare fraud in US history…I was simply pointing out that your website/blog seems somewhat misdirected.
            Further to your comment
            “You see, mainstream medicine has a solid foundation of a culture of critical self-appraisal. Journals are full of critical articles. And practices do change when evidence emerges. And evil corporations pay fines when caught. Alt med is free from such introspection and insight.”…

            I really can’t respond to that any better than Jon Rappoport has done in his blog…quoted below.*
            The evidence is easy to find to back up his argument. I really can’t be bothered to cite the number of people from inside the medical profession (including some scientists that I know personally) who can back up his argument-there are just too many. I have also in the past worked for a medical publisher (that was the start of my journey in discovering the fraud and corruption in the medical industry) and part of my MA thesis focused on the relationship between profit and peer reviewed papers in the publishing industry. I got a first by the way.

            *”What do doctors rely on? What do medical schools rely on? What do medical journals and mainstream medical reporters and drug companies and the FDA rely on?
            The sanctity of published clinical trials of drugs. These trials determine whether the drugs are safe and effective. The drugs are tested on human volunteers. The results are tabulated. The trials are described in papers that are printed by medical journals.
            This is science. This is rationality. This is the rock. Without these studies, the whole field of medical research would fall apart in utter chaos.
            Upon this rock, and hence through media, the public becomes aware of the latest breakthrough, the newest medicine. Through doctors in their offices, the public finds out what drugs they should take—and their doctors know because their doctors have read the published studies in the medical journals, the studies that describe the clinical drug trials. Or if the doctors haven’t actually read the reports, they’ve been told about them.
            It all goes back to this rock.
            And when mainstream medical advocates attack so-called alternative or natural health, they mention that their own sacred profession is based on real science, on studies, on clinical trials.
            One doctor told me, “The published peer-reviewed studies are what keep us from going back to the Stone Age.”
            He smiled. He was confident. He was sure of himself. He had science on his side. And he was dead wrong. The science is a sham, it’s in tatters, it’s broken, crushed, smashed.
            Here is more evidence. I quote an article in the NY Review of Books (May 12, 2011) by Helen Epstein, “Flu Warning: Beware the Drug Companies.”
            “Six years ago, John Ioannidis, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, found that nearly half of published articles in scientific journals contained findings that were false.”
            Here’s another quote from the same article:
            “Last year, GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug Avandia was linked to thousands of heart attacks, and earlier in the decade, the company’s antidepressant Paxil was discovered to exacerbate the risk of suicide in young people. Merck’s painkiller Vioxx was also linked to thousands of heart disease deaths. In each case, the scientific literature gave little hint of these dangers.”
            And here is yet another statement from Marcia Angell, former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine:
            “A review of seventy-four clinical trials of antidepressants, for example, found that thirty-seven of thirty-eight positive studies were published. But of the thirty-six negative studies, thirty-three were either not published or published in a form that conveyed a positive outcome.”
            It turns out that the source of the informational pipeline that feeds the entire perception of pharmaceutical medicine is a rank fraud.
            Doctors say: “We have the clinical trials of studies on drugs and they are published in top-rank journals. We are the epitome of science.”
            Yes, false science. Riddled from top to bottom with lies.
            Perhaps this will help the next time a friend, pretending he actually knows anything, tells you pharmaceutical medicine is a resounding success.
            If you need more, cite Dr. Barbara Starfield’s famous study, “Is US health really the best in the world?” Journal of the American Medical Association, July 26, 2000. Starfield concludes that 225,000 people are killed by the medical system in the US every year—106,000 by FDA-approved medicines. That latter figure works out to over a MILLION deaths per decade.
            A final note: The august editors of medical journals have a game they can play. Suppose a drug company has just finished writing up the results of a clinical drug trial and has submitted the piece to a journal for publication. The editor knows the company carried out a half-dozen other such trials on the same drug…and they didn’t look good. The drug caused wild fluctuations in blood pressure and blood sugar. There were heart attacks. Strokes. But this ONE study, the one submitted for publication, looks very positive. The editor knows if he prints it and forgets about “ethics,” the drug company will order re-prints of the piece from him and distribute them to doctors all over the world, and to reporters, professors, government officials. The drug company will order and pay for these re-prints; the medical journal can make $700,000 from publishing THAT ONE STUDY. In one hand, the editor sees: I won’t publish it=no money. In the other hand, he sees: I’ll publish it=$700,000. What to do?
            As a reporter investigating deep medical fraud and crime for 30 years, I’ve spoken to people throughout the medical system. They all cling to the idea that published studies are the final and ultimate rationalization for their professional existence.
            Well, the system has crashed. It’s broken up into pieces. And yet these professionals move on, as if everything is normal. It’s an illustration that consensus reality about science can be stronger than legitimate science itself. The blinders are firmly in place. March ahead. Pretend the truth is on your side. Salute high ideals. Fake it all the way. While huge numbers of people die.”

          • Andy Lewis
            July 3, 2012 at 7:55 pm

            Jane let me remind you that you started the conversation about ‘energy’ by saying “It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing”.

            So, you present homeopathy as an ‘energy medicine’ with reference to a physical theory of energy, but when questioned, try to escape into ‘energy is a metaphor for love’ type wishy washy nonsense. Do you see you have failed to explain anything or aid clarity into what might be going on? What you are practicing is non-thought. Use words as defensive blocks against actually having to think about what you mean.

            The rest of your response was tl;dr.

          • jane
            July 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm

            Andy I don’t know what your abbreviations at the end mean, I am not of the text speak generation. Also what do you mean when you say ‘with reference to a physical theory of energy’? I don’t quite understand.
            I explained why it is not possible to provide a definitive definition of energy. When the biggest names in science can’t fully explain our energetic universe, how can you expect me as one humble individual to explain it. e.g. Dark energy, dark matter, Tetraneutrons, Ultra-energetic cosmic rays etc etc. Don’t be so ridiculous.
            I think my reference to love being something that we can’t quantify but something that clearly exists and can be felt is valid. What is wishy washy about that?

          • Andy Lewis
            July 3, 2012 at 8:50 pm

            The problem is Jane, that you did attempt to explain that homeopathy had something to do with being an ‘energy medicine’. When asked to explain what you meant, you retreated into metaphor.

            Whilst you may not be able to explain energy, the concept does indeed have a very precise definition – a definition that allows scientists and technologists to utilise energy to create the modern world around you. From thermodynamic concepts of energy that allow us to build everything from fridges to cars and computers, to fundamental ideas of energy that allow us to recreate the conditions that only existed previously a fraction of a second after the Big Bang. Indeed, our concepts of energy are so refined that they have enable physicists to predict how matter behaves in extreme circumstances with incredible precision.

            One terrible consequence of this precisoin was the dropping of a uranium bomb on Hiroshima. Before that bomb exploded, no-one had even witnessed a uranium critical mass explosion before. So confident were the physicists of the mathematic ofthe description of the energies involved, they felt they did not need to.

            More positively, it looks like physicists at CERN will announce tomorrow the discovery of the Higgs boson at the energy levels they predicted. CERN cost billions. Such is the power of our ability to understand energy. The discovery of the Higgs will be a triumph of 20th Century developments in the understanding of matter and energy.

            Perhaps you can see why that people like me who understand these things get annoyed when homeopaths band around words like ‘energy’ without care or thought. You attempt to wear the mantle of science with none of the understanding.

            Love is a human emotion. It has nothing to do with the concepts of energy as you introduced it. And for that matter, love will not make homeopathy work either.

          • jane
            July 3, 2012 at 9:16 pm

            Thanks Andy, you clearly know your stuff. I would never have known that fridges, cars and computers or atomic bombs are the result of the utilisation of energy by scientists and technologists. But you haven’t explained how it works. And you needn’t bother because any fool can look that up on the internet. Science however still has a lot of questions in this area that remain unanswered-agree or disagree?

          • jane
            July 3, 2012 at 9:40 pm

            And further to your penultimate comment
            “Perhaps you can see why that people like me who understand these things get annoyed when homeopaths band around words like ‘energy’ without care or thought. You attempt to wear the mantle of science with none of the understanding.”

            Andy, we live in an energetic universe. This is a given. Only a fool would argue otherwise. So why should homeopaths, healers, cleaners, shop assistants and everybody else on this planet not talk about energy. Energy is not under copyright by the scientific community…it belongs to all of us.

          • Andy Lewis
            July 3, 2012 at 10:17 pm

            Jane – there are colloquial uses of the word ‘energy’- such as in “I woke up this morning full of energy”. And there are scientific uses of the word “energy”.

            The former is at best a metaphor. It is woolly and just a turn of phrase. The scientific use is very tightly constrained by reality.

            Of course, you are free to use the word colloqially. But as soon as you use it in an explanatory context, you need to know what you are talking about. If you have no idea what the second law of thermodynamics is, or what a wave function is, or what a Lorentz transformationsis, then it is best not to barge in.

          • Mojo
            July 3, 2012 at 10:15 pm

            @Jane:

            You ask, “Also what do you mean when you say ‘with reference to a physical theory of energy’?”

            You presented homeopathy as an ‘energy medicine’ with reference to a physical theory of energy when you posted, at 12:02 today:

            Out of the mouth of one of our greatest scientific geniuses came this:
            “It followed from the special theory of relativity that mass and energy are both but different manifestations of the same thing — a somewhat unfamiliar conception for the average mind.”
            But you know best eh and anyone talking about healing the energy of the human body is to your mind a quack.

          • Will
            July 3, 2012 at 10:16 pm

            Jane, I just jumped to the moon and back, and I did it using ENERGY! You can’t say I didn’t, cos ENERGY belongs to all of us and neither you nor I can explain ENERGY. Also, there are lots of well reported dangers in ‘conventional’ space travel, REMEMBER APOLLO 13? So, that also proves I’m right cos you CAN’T DENY THAT!

          • Mojo
            July 3, 2012 at 10:19 pm

            Andy, we live in an energetic universe. This is a given. Only a fool would argue otherwise. So why should homeopaths, healers, cleaners, shop assistants and everybody else on this planet not talk about energy. Energy is not under copyright by the scientific community…it belongs to all of us.

            When you use the word “energy” in the way you have used it here, you are using it as technobabble, to confuse the issue rather than to illuminate.

          • jane
            July 3, 2012 at 10:38 pm

            Andy I am not using the word colloquially and just as I don’t need a pre-school account of how scientists utilise energy to make fridges, neither do I need educating on the differences between everyday and scientific usage of words. Can you please stop with the patronising attitude, it doesn’t serve anyone. For example, if you have no idea what the difference is between gamma rays and X-rays then it is best not to barge in. Get it!
            Neither of us are scientists but both of us clearly have an interest in energy albeit with a different focus.
            I am not using the word colloquially here. I am saying that we live in an energetic universe. Do you agree or disagree?
            Also you have not agreed or disagreed to my earlier question that science still has a lot of questions when it comes to a full understanding of how energy works. Do you agree or disagree?

          • Andy Lewis
            July 3, 2012 at 10:41 pm

            Jane – the difference between us is, and there is no easy way to say this, that you have no idea what you are talking about and I have a PhD (from a real accredited university) in the subject.

            Yes, science still has lots to work out. That is why there are scientists doing science. That does not give you a free hand to make shit up about energy and homeopathy.

          • Andy Lewis
            July 3, 2012 at 10:51 pm

            Let me give you an example of how a detailed knowledge of what energy is has a direct impact on saving peoples’lives in medicine. I worked in a research group where some of the team were looking at how very high energy beams of elementary particles dumped their energy into cells if they hit a human. The machine was not unlike the CERN device (but much smaller). If you could fine tune the beam of particles, so that they traveled some distance into the body without losing energy and then suddenly losing all their energy within a few mm, then it would be possible to kill cancerous cells within a very tightly controlled area without harming surrounding vital organs like eyes and brains.

            In order to get this right required years of experiments (on chunks of steak for example)in specially designed detectors, thousand of hours of computer simulations and very detailed examination of precisely how these particle lost their energy within different mediums. The technique had quite some success and saved lives.

            Your notion of ‘energy’ is just handwaving. It gives no insight into what is going on in homeopathy(if anything) and how an energetic understanding might be used to improve clinical practice. It gives you nothing. It is just a defense mechanism against your own ignorance. A pretense to knowledge.

          • July 3, 2012 at 10:57 pm

            “Energy medicine?” Ah, the neologism for Vitalism.

          • Will
            July 3, 2012 at 11:01 pm

            Jane: My parody was intended to illustrate how ludicrous your own arguments should sound to you when applied in an other context.

            I, like Andy, have a science PhD from a Russell Group University, and a decade’s experience in science research.

            I have to say, that, in my professional opinion, you are talking utter drivel.

            Don’t feel alone: I have no understanding whatsoever of economics, which has led me, in my unguarded moments, to opine that no one can really understand economics and that it’s all a sham/silly games etc. etc.

            It’s a natural position to take when one ‘feels’ clever, and then comes across a field about which one has absolutely no clue.

            However, when less ‘unguarded’ I would say that I have nothing constructive to say about economics, as I don’t, really, have the first clue about economics.

            Are you still so sure that you want to keep on discussing energy. Here. With us. At this level?

            Maybe time to go and read up a bit?

          • jane
            July 3, 2012 at 11:51 pm

            Thank you for the information. If you don’t mind me asking what is your PHD in-Energy? That is what we are talking about here. What ‘shit’ have I made up about energy and homeopathy?
            My main points have been-
            That we live in an energetic universe. I have asked if you agree or disagree several times now but no response.
            And that science still has lots to work out, to which you did agree.
            I think this latter admission is really the crux of our argument. You hold fast that homeopathy and other systems of energy medicine do not work-full stop.
            Your argument seems to revolve around the issue that trials, as conducted by mainstream science, have shown no efficacy.
            The fact is Andy, as I have also pointed out in previous posts, that trials conducted through the medium of mainstream science are biased and profit driven. There is very little profit in proving the efficacy of a treatment that anyone can make and that cannot be patented. Mainstream science is never going to prove the efficacy of homeopathy for this reason alone. And those scientists who have made headway such as Benveniste have been subjected to the most unscientific treatment possible from the so called scientific community. What other scientific researcher has had their research watched over by a professional magician and arch sceptic?
            There is something clearly amiss with this. It is obvious to one and all that it was set up to discredit his work in a most unscientific way.
            The experiment was later replicated by Ennis. Wikipedia tells us that
            “A team of scientists failed to replicate these results. These experiments were conducted by reputable scientists under protocols set by the James Randi Educational Foundation under their million dollar challenge.”
            Do you really want to go into the arguments against having a magician’s ‘educational foundation’ set protocols for scientific experiments. I would really hope that you wouldn’t stoop so low.
            I have not said that advances in mainstream science have no value, far from it. I acknowledge that in some cases such advances can be life changing. The problem is that the pharmaceutical industry is corrupted as we have seen today and will see again.
            Anyway Andy I can’t debate this endlessly. We will have to agree to differ. So long as you have agreed, which you have, that science still has lots to work out and that corruption exists in mainstream science, which you have, then I don’t think you can categorically say that homeopathy doesn’t work…your arguments fall apart by your own admissions.
            Oh and do you agree or disagree that we live in an energetic universe?

          • Andy Lewis
            July 4, 2012 at 10:18 am

            Let’s crack on with the gish gallop.

            I did not answer your question about the ‘energetic universe’ as it is meaningless. Since the universe is the sum total of all we can see, and since everything is a manifestation of energy in one form or another, then it is something of a tautology. It is like asking is this a cooking kitchen? Or is this a teaching school? It is not possible to conceive what a non-energetic universe might be. Like trying to imaging what a non-spatial mountain is. You ask the question, once again, because you have no idea what you are talking about.

            Next. Science still does not know everything. But there is an awful lot we do not with huge degrees of confidence. It is no exaggeration to say our concepts of energy allowed the creation of the modern world. Without a sound knowledge of energy there would be no cars, computers, space exploration, solar panels, kettles. Nothing. We would be back in the 18th Century technology wise – pre steam power.

            Our best understanding of how energy manifests itself is Quantum Theory. It is the most successful theory ever devised. It predicts natural phenomena to incredible degrees of precision. Despite its uncomfortable interpretive difficulties, no discrepancies with QT have been observed. It really works. The last difficulties are in combining it with gravity – that is where physicists do their work.

            Quantum theory explains why atoms and molecules have the properties they do. Take a homeopathic staple, belladonna. The molecules within this plant have their very specific properties because of the spatial arrangement of charges with the molecules and the associated quantised energetic states of the electrons within the molecules. Homeopathy claims that somehow these properties can remain once all the belladonna molecules have been diluted away. Quantum Theory says this cannot happen. Full stop. Some homeopaths claim water takes on the ‘memory’ of the belladonna. This is also forbidden by QT. Water is not a generic clay that can arbitrarily take on another molecules quantum properties. Water has its own unique quantum properties and energetic states that are fixed by the rules of quantum theory.

            This is just the start of the problems posed by homeopathy. We know homeopathy does not work, because physics tells us it cannot. That is why people say either homeopathy is right and all of science is wrong, or homeopathy does not work.

            Trials of homeopathy are something of a side-issue and a distraction. Individual trials are not reliable. Many things can go wrong. That is why independent replication and systematic review is so important. And systematic reviews of homeopathy show the sum total of trial data is consistent with it being an inert treatment. As one would expect from the physics.

            The beliefs of homeopaths can be explained by well established psychology. Most commonly, cognitive biases such as post hoc reasoning (“My patient got better after my treatment, therefore they got better because of my treatment.) There are several other biases that play a role, such as recall bias and so on.

            Your assertion that non-patentable research is not done show more about your prejudices than reality. The cancer research I describe above was not patented, was funded from public sources and used in public hospitals. Profit was not a motive – working out how to treat highly dangerous and difficult cancers was the motive. You will find this sortof research is very common. It is only when it gets into commercial companies – big pharma – that the profit motive becomes overriding.

            Benveniste did bad science. He did not blind his researchers to the samples. Biases crept it. When the lab assistants were blinded, the effects went away. Basic lab procedure was not followed. Others have tried to replicate the work, much funded by Boiron homeopathics. Ennis herself in her 2010 review concluded the matter could not be settled until large scale robust replications are performed. No homeopaths are rushing to do that. They are happy with the current very scrappy results.

            As for magicians being involved: they are experts on how people can trick themselves into believing something is true when it is not. That is what a magic trick is.You should read Derren Brown’s Tricks of the Mind for a fascinating insight into his work exposing psychics and so on.

            This debate will go on because homeopaths will continue to believe their own myths rather than understand the science. It is this ability to wade into questions of science when they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about which is one of the defining characteristics of many homeopaths. The psychologists Dunning & Kruger wrote a classic paper on this sort of thinking. I am sure you can find it.

            Oh, and saying homeopathy is an ‘energy medicine’ is making shit up.

          • Will
            July 4, 2012 at 9:31 am

            Jane, I really don’t have the first clue what you think you mean by an ‘energetic universe’.

            Really. No clue.

            As you clearly do not understand energy/physics you could quite literally mean anything. I mean, it has energy in it. It’s rather busy, in parts.

            My PhD is in chemistry, but I have also studied physics as part of my degree. Physics is a big part of chemistry, so I have a thorough grounding in quantum mechanics.

            Understanding energy underpins chemistry as it determines whether reactions happen, bonds breaking and forming etc. It’s really all about energy.

            I agree with you, however, that the energy you seem to be talking about is like love. An awesomely powerful force that can cause enormous effects, good and bad. But no part of it whatsoever exists outside the skull of the experiencer.

            A matter of psychology.

            This is not true of energy in the physical world, which can be detected, measured and quantified.

            What do you mean by energy? And please don’t feel as though you have to dumb it down for me!

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            July 4, 2012 at 11:55 am

            Will,

            “I agree with you, however, that the energy you seem to be talking about is like love. An awesomely powerful force that can cause enormous effects, good and bad. But no part of it whatsoever exists outside the skull of the experiencer.”

            But even here, the woolliness of Jane’s conceptualisation of energy doesn’t matter. “Love” might be a psychological concept, but it does have effects outside the body. People who assert they feel love for someone buy flowers for the focus of their love. It would be perfectly feasible to make a hypothesis about flower-buying in the loved-up and measure some metric of flower-purchasing. We could show the effect of love without ever being able to, or needing to be able, to define exactly what love is.

            If homeopaths said they filled their pills with love not energy, then we would test those pills in just the same way. They have been tested they do nothing, so however the homeopaths describe the empowerment of their pills, it does not matter, they are indistinguishable from untreated pills.

            Science is quite happy to work with the pills as little black boxes whose content is unknown. Homeopaths’ claim that there is content and that the content has reproducible effects, it’s the effects that matter for the homeopaths’ hypothesis.

            As it happens, because science does know about energy, scientists can explain why the homeopaths fail to create pills that have an effect. This is a separate line of argument, which means that performing clinical trials is futile a priori. It is then merely amusing that tendentiously motivated researchers have, nonetheless performed trials. The trials have negative outcomes and we get to say, “I told you so”.

          • Chris
            January 10, 2014 at 10:42 pm

            It’s not your evidence.

        • jane
          July 4, 2012 at 10:24 pm

          Andy having had some time away from this toxic site and its ridiculous cover of exposing quackery by using some daft software that picks out words from sites you don’t like in order to hide your real vision which is essentially a dystopian nightmare.

          The nightmare if you could have your way (which you never will as your site has discredited you and shown you to be under the thrall of scientism and its dogma) would look something like this:

          One system of ‘healthcare’ for all where all access to other types of healing is outlawed. People would have no choice when ill other than to take toxic chemicals and suffer their often life threatening side effects. If you had your way there would be no vitamins, no organic food, no healers, just toxic pill pushers masquerading as health experts. We’d all be vaccinated up to the eyeballs with formaldehyde, aluminum phosphate, ammonium sulfate, and thimerosal…washed sheep RBCs, human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue, fetal bovine serum, guinea pig embryo cells and that’s just to name a very small few that vaccine manufactures put in their products.

          While your response will be that I am a crazy loon it is really you who is blinkered beyond belief. Obviously you are so invested in this sight and your spurious underhanded campaign not to mention trolling homeopathy sites in the guise of polite debate all too transparent for words campaign.

          No real scientist endorses one system of healthcare and I’ve read plenty of science literature.

          You’re a science fundamentalist, you want a totalitarian system of health where there is no choice. You can argue against this all you like but your website is full of words like banned, illegal etc in relation to what you’d really like to see happen to alt therapies and particularly anything related to energy healing.

          While you scoff at this and say energy healing means nothings it is really the height of arrogance to think that you know best when it comes to systems of health that have been around for thousands of years such as acupuncture, shiatsu, reiki, to name but a few. These are what you are talking about when you condemn energy medicine even though you go for the easy pop at homeopathy because to go for others would really incite tens of thousands of people and show you up for the fundamentalist that you are.

          You don’t believe in freedom of choice. It doesn’t matter to me a hoot what your preferred system of medicine is-it’s your choice and I wouldn’t take it away from you but I object deeply to your attempt to take it away from others. Please don’t pretend that you just want more regulations in place. It is absolutely blatant from your virulent condemnation and absolute insistence that you are right that what you really want is to have these choices taken away.

          Wake up to yourself and see yourself for what you are. The archetypal fisherman of science who thinks the only fish in the sea are the ones in his net.

          Your cover for this website is so blatantly fraudulent and even if you honestly wanted to root out so called quacks, by seeking to make the practice of energy healing difficult and ultimately illegal that would be the perfect climate for fraudsters to flourish in.

          Which ever way you look at it, the premise for this site is toxic and malevolent and hiding behind a chagrin of politely presented ‘debate’ doesn’t fool anyone.
          Furthermore you have made so many assumptions about what I have been saying in my posts such as ‘you talk shit about homeopathy and energy’ when in fact I hadn’t mentioned homeopathy at that point. You don’t even read my posts properly. This is not a place for critical debate. And saying things like ‘ I have a propa PhD from a propa university (that’s how you sound) is just juvenile, what professional scientist would ever need to say that…totally ridiculous.

          Someone on here asked me to define energy, I’ll go one better and describe energy in action…The energy of this site has made me, an otherwise very healthy individual, feel literally quite sick, with the sensation in my stomach that I have ingested something poisonous. I won’t be returning, it’s very bad for my health and as far as I can see for the health of millions of others for whom you seek to take away their freedom of choice.

          “The abuse of scientism is most pronounced when it finds its way into public policy. A scientistic culture privileges scientific knowledge over all other ways of knowing. It uses jargon, technical language, and technical evidence in public debate as a means to exclude the laity from participation in policy formation. Despite such obvious transgressions of democracy, common citizens yield to the dictates of scientism without a fight. The norms of science abound in popular culture and the naturalized authority of scientific reasoning can lead unchecked to a malignancy of cultural norms. The most notorious example of this was seen in Nazi Germany where a noxious combination of scientism and utopianism led to the eugenics excesses of the Third Reich (Arendt, 1951). Policy can be informed by science, and the best policies take into account the best available scientific reasoning. Law makers are prudent to keep an ear open to science while resisting the rhetoric of the science industry in formulating policy. It is the role of science to serve the primary interests of the polity. But government in a free society is not obliged to serve the interests of science. Jurgen Habermas (1978, Ch 3) warns that positivism and scientism move in where the discourse of science lacks self-reflection and where the spokesmen of science exempt themselves from public scrutiny.”
           

          • Andy Lewis
            July 4, 2012 at 10:46 pm

            Oooh Nazis. I call Godwin’s Law.

            Your bluster and strawman arguments are obvious nonsense and are not worth responding to. You lost the science debate and so resorted to a tantrum.

            But a few factual matters need to be corrected.

            Shiatsu was invented by Tokujiro Namikoshiin 1940.
            Reiki was invented by Mikao Usui in 1922.
            Acupuncture, as you see it on the High Street today, is really a New Age practice that formed from a Western process of orientalism based on Mao’s amalgamation of traditional practices in the 1950′s. It is not thousands of years old, maybe a few hundred. Before that , there were primitive surgical techniques that proponents of acupucnture like to project as forms of acupuncture. Pure propaganda.

            See you around.

      • Pete G
        July 13, 2012 at 5:16 pm

        You have a good point. You can’t generally produce an adverse reaction by giving someone a small quantity of water. Of course you can’t help them either. You can convince them you are helping them and profit from that belief. You can thereby prevent them from seeking proper medical attention and allow their condition to become worse, possibly fatal, and put additional heavy burdens on the real health care system. But it is true that the water homeopaths peddle does not produce many adverse reactions in patients to whom it is given as a treatment. Oddly enough, it does produce vicarious symptoms in people who don’t take it. It makes people like me sick that homeopaths get away with their quackery.

        • Morven
          August 3, 2012 at 10:12 am

          Well said Pete G.

          My aging parents spend a fortune on homeopathic so-called remedies, principally in the belief that it will help with the symptoms of arthritis. Of course it doesn’t on account of the fact that homeopathy is a pile of poo.

          It makes my blood boil.

    • Jrt
      August 3, 2012 at 11:23 am

      Interesting debate but it fails to get to the point.

      I am always interested in what REAL illness homoeopathy actually treats or prevents.

      One needs to challenge these “knowledgeable” practitioners of the art. Would they for example penetrate Sub- Saharan Africa armed with sugar pills that have “energy” to combat the very real risk of Plasmodium falciparum ?

      Should a child of a Homoeopath develop Meningitis or Haemophilus influenzae Pneumonia would they treat the child with a “Specially formulated,”Energy” containig Remedy” ?

      It is only by forcing these people down a path of reality that the cracks start to appear. ( In case you are wondering it is a criminal offence not to seek real Medical for a sick child)

  2. Jo D. Baker
    June 26, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Whilst I would love to see homeopathy trashed will this necessarily put an end to homeopathic consultations where the punter is left to buy remedies over the web? For example, we don’t seem to have made a very good job if preventing the sale of (bogus or not) viagra or grow your c#ck pills. And for the ordinary practising homeopath how much of their distribution is made from the sale of sugar pills?

  3. Jan Willem Nienhuys
    June 26, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    I don’t know the details of the UK regulation, but I know a bit more about Directive 2001/83/EC .

    The directive has several regulations of homeopathy. The most important is that homeopathic preparations can be marketed, but have to be approved (for safety); the most important is that if they are highly diluted, they may not carry an indication, only the name of whatever is in it, say Lac caninum C30.

    Other European rules go into much detail about what constitues ‘homeopathy’. Although this is all ridiculous, it may result in diluted vacuum or black hole or Lux Jupiteris stellae errantis going off the market.

    Especially the OTC stuff (for flu, diaper rash, sore throat, menopause etc. etc.) consisting of fanciful mixtures of homeopathic dilution will be hurt but if the producers refrain from specific medical claims and change it into vague stuff like ‘supports the immune system’ they may stay in business alsmost as usual.

    I wouldn’t underestimate the inventivity of quacks.

  4. June 26, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    It is perfectly legal to buy registered homeopathic medicines from EU countries that aren’t registered here.

  5. June 26, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    UK legislation regarding homeopathy is essentially the implementation of EU Directives 92/73/EEC, 2001/83/EC and 2004/27/EC. The changes that homeopaths want made to UK law can not be made unless these Directives are amended OR the UK gains an opt-out from the provisions that relate to homeopathic medicines. Both are extremely unlikely.

    It is going to be bloody. It’s taken UK homeopathy a long time to wake up to this and it will doubtless take them a while to work out who to blame. Expect a lot of finger pointing. Expect conspiracy theories.

  6. Acleron
    June 26, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    ‘The people responsible are not bloggers like me.’

    You do yourself down. Without you continually showing the vacuousness of homeopathy and incidentally offering support to others who criticised the same I doubt the MHRA and the ASA would be so brave as to actually apply the law. So congratulations :)

    But I suspect you will still have more than a few years of productive blogging, there is still nutritionists, reiki, TCM and all those others.

    • June 28, 2012 at 9:17 am

      A problem with dealing with stuff like reiki is that it’s not selling anything that is licensable. I have had some success in getting the ASA to take action against one of my local purveyors of this particular species of phuqouittery (http://bit.ly/xhwXN2), but I suspect that there is a vanishingly tiny chance of being able to make it necessary for these people display, prominently and in large friendly letters, on their advertising: “This is a ‘treatment’ for which there is no evidence of efficacy. If you are ill, you need to seek treatment with evidence-based medicine or therapy.” Pains me to say it but, at one level, otherwise intelligent adults who are blessed with the sort of inane credulity that believes that (for example) “healing energy” can be transmitted over telephone lines, almost deserve to be ripped off!

      Like a lot of woo, reiki itself isn’t actively harmful (and the attention and ritual will make some people feel good) except in that it may prevent people from getting proper treatment for serious, non-self-limiting conditions. I think it is that latter point that needs addressing in a general sense; with the full force of the law being directed at anyone who actively dissuades someone from seeking proper medical attention and instead sells them some ineffective “treatment”.

  7. JimR
    June 26, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Perhaps there will be a sudden discovery that the few registered products have the same efficacy as the myriad of concoctions before. Since they all work on magics, the transference spell will be invoked, and they can report that all of the potions are so similar that they only contain 2 parts hydrogen for every single oxygen, plus some may have a bit of C2H6O.

    • June 26, 2012 at 11:55 pm

      Transference spell? That’s the principle behind radionic “homeopathic” remedy makers.

    • June 27, 2012 at 7:46 am

      Indeed. Given the true profit-based motives of many homeopaths, and 100% of the manufacturers, they will “discover” their way around this one. That’s the beauty of dogma – the people in charge can just change the rules at will, the rubes will swallow the new doctrine, and the fleecing will continue.

  8. June 27, 2012 at 12:06 am

    When/how will the law be enforced though? Will it take a campaign for prosecutions etc or will that happen anyway?

    • David J Mudkips
      June 27, 2012 at 9:11 am

      What’s needed is vigilance on the part of people like us, reporting breaking.

      I can see things like FishBarrel becoming even more important in this latest phase of the War On Woo.

      • Ademo
        June 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm

        I can see now that delation is going to become a cottage industry.
        The skeptics, like old women sitting behind their curtains, are going to watch from their computer and look for homeopaths and give their name to the police
        YooHoo! big brother, I did not know you were so close.

        • Badly Shaved Monkey
          June 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm

          Well, it’s like Neighbourhood Watch, except that in this instance the miscreants have arranged beforehand to wear stripy jumpers and carry big bags labelled SWAG. Innocent bystanders will not be troubled.

          Unless you wish to come to the defence of the members of the burgling community and the pursuit of their cultural traditions I cannot see why you would object.

          • Ademo
            June 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm

            This start to look like the Gestapo all other again, fancy invading Poland?

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            June 28, 2012 at 9:07 pm

            Godwin is hereby invoked. You lose.

        • Will
          June 28, 2012 at 3:11 pm

          Ademo, do you have anything clever to say, perhaps something about homoeopathy?

          Or just more silly name calling and utterly tasteless invocation of Nazi imagery.

          I really don’t know what you think you are achieving posting here like this. Other than steadily loosing credibility with any readers out there.

          Don’t you see, that this is exactly the problem with alt med people?

          You shout, you bluster, you name-call, you whine about nasty sceptics. You say how horrible we all are, and how evil conventional medicine is.

          All completely missing the point.

          Just provide proof that your chosen alt med method works.

          Proof that stands up to even the gentlest of examinations.

          That’s all you need to do.

          • Ademo
            June 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm

            Will: when I started reading this blog, I was neither or against; my preferred alt med in a way would be osteopathy, AS I have experienced it, for a neck injury an it worked well; I would add that the few millions of people go go every year to see osteopaths and are very happy with the result cannot be all deluded.
            What made me critical o this blog are the really sometime extreme, bordering on the fascist comment made by the skeptics; if you want some specific examples, it’s easy, just read the various pages you will see plenty of them.
            The second reason that made me go against, is the fact that there is a big difference between having an opinion against alternative medicine and going out and hounding therapists; if for example a similar situation occured with osteopath and they would be hunted down and prevented from practicing, I would be very angry.
            Democracy is freedom of choice, as long as millions of people choose these therapies, you have no business preventing them.
            You try to set dangerous precedents, and if your lots had their way, we would rapidly be under dictatorship.

          • Will
            June 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm

            Ademo:

            “AS I have experienced it, for a neck injury an it worked well”

            This is an anecdote. An anecdote is not evidence.

            “millions of people…cannot be all deluded.”

            Why not? There are millions of people that think homoeopathy is fraudulent rubbish. You believe they are wrong. Thousands of people think osteopathy is rubbish. You believe they are wrong. Do you see that ‘argumentum ad populum’ just can not be used? Because you can’t have it both ways.

            “Democracy is freedom of choice”

            No it isn’t.

            It’s people electing a government to rule over them.

            You are only free to act within the law. You have to abide by the law or you get punished.

            Surely you think it’s a good thing that it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol? That people are not free to choose to drive home drunk? This is because you understand the risks outweigh the benefits. So people’s freedom is curtailed for the greater good.

            They can still drink themselves silly, but they just can’t drive like that. Lives saved.

            That is democracy in action, no?

            So you are free to self-medicate with water/sugar pills, and if you die from cancer/malaria/AIDS that’s your choice. But you can’t tell someone else you can treat their cancer/malaria/AIDS with water/sugar pills, make money from them and kill them. Lives saved.

            I have never “hounded” a therapist.

            I have questioned people, sometimes robustly, when they lay before us what they believe to be evidence. After all: I am a scientist.

            So, every point you made in you last comment (Ademo on June 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm) I have just shown to wrong.

            Want to try again?

            “Just provide proof that your chosen alt med method works.

            Proof that stands up to even the gentlest of examinations.

            That’s all you need to do.”

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            June 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm

            Ademo

            The problem is that truth is not very democratic. Falsehood doesn’t get to have a vote and be counted as part of truth.

            You and I can have a valid discussion of the relative merits of the film Casablanca and the paintings of Francis Bacon. There is no way to determine whether one is ‘better’ than the other. But in some parts of life there are things that are right and other things that are wrong. If you advocate things that are wrong then there is no room for compromise with that opinion.

            You might believe that 1+1 = 3 and you are free to hold that opinion, but you are not free to have that opinion be right. Sorry, old chum, we didn’t make you back losers.

            The grown-up thing to do is stop defending nonsense and learn.

            The sad thing about alt.meddlers is that real science is so much more interesting than the sad mockery they believe in. Quite simply, it is a waste of their lives.

          • Ademo
            June 28, 2012 at 10:37 pm

            Will: So my neck getting better after an osteopathic treatment is anecdotal hey? there are possibly hundreds of millions of people using alternative medicine around the world, and feeling better for it; at what point does anecdotal evidence become statistically significant? 10 millions, 50 millions, 100 millions?
            you an your mates are not hounding the homeopath, but you are using a (crap) software to identify them and then use your best tool: delation; is not that hounding?
            Do you have any evidence of anybody died from taking a homeopathic remedy?
            from what I have seen on the net, the stories of homeopaths treating life threatening diseases are sometimes true, often exagerated; in this world, there will always be some dangerous idiots: some are homeopaths, some are doctors, and some are scientists.
            By the way, where did I say conventional medicine was evil?
            I stand by what i said: delation, totalitarian attitude, methods more relevant to the gestapo, fascist comments, you got them all! you are condescending and treat people like idiots, but they will ultimately be judges of what they want and what is good for them.
            You may win your battle against homeopathy, and push it underground where it will continue to strive without any control, what will you have won then?

          • Will
            June 29, 2012 at 7:19 am

            Ademo, now you’re using ‘post hoc ergo propter hoc’.

            Please read up on ‘logical fallacies’, the set of simple, predictable, easily countered thought mistakes that people fall into when they don’t know how to think.

            Do this, rather than tediously work your way through the list. It’s boring and the discussion can’t move forward.

            You’d save us both a lot of time.

          • Mojo
            June 29, 2012 at 8:56 am

            @Ademo:

            there are possibly hundreds of millions of people using alternative medicine around the world, and feeling better for it; at what point does anecdotal evidence become statistically significant?

            At the point at which it includes proper statistics, including information about all the millions of people using alternative medicine and not feeling better, and eliminates factors such as regression to the mean, the natural history of the conditions, the placebo effect, etc.

            At which point you have conducted a controlled trial, so that the evidence is no longer anecdotal.

          • Will
            June 29, 2012 at 9:11 am

            “at what point does anecdotal evidence become statistically significant?”

            It doesn’t. If you knew anything about statistics you’d understand.

            Read up on that while you’re reading up on the common logical fallacies:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anecdotal_evidence

            I can’t do any more than this for you.

            If you really want to think, reason and understand, then at some point you have to do some of the work yourself.

            Get back to us once you have understood these basic things.

            Or just keep flailing around…

          • jane
            July 2, 2012 at 9:48 pm

            There is a reason why millions of people around the world are choosing alternatives to mainstream medicine. Here’s one very good one from the FDA website.
            http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/DevelopmentResources/DrugInteractionsLabeling/ucm114848.htm
            Wake up sheeple, stop wasting your time attacking alt med. and ask yourself who is doing the most harm. Answer is clearly in the link. Sure alt med is an easy target, much easier than attacking massive corporations who would sue you at the drop of a hat. What a bunch of pathetic cowards you are.

        • June 28, 2012 at 7:46 pm

          No. It is down to the conscience of individual homeopaths whether they wish to continue to break the law. Individual homeopaths are unlikely to be prosecuted – the cost factor if nothing else.

          It’s the homeopathic pharmacies that represent a substantial target.

    • June 27, 2012 at 9:24 am

      It would be a case of reporting the homeopathic pharmacies to their regulator, the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), for breach of professional standards. Also, they could be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) who are responsible for enforcing the law.

      It’s not so much about a campaign but more about gathering evidence, making a strong argument and reminding the regulators that enforcement is a statutory duty.

      • June 27, 2012 at 6:33 pm

        Malleus Homeopathicum said:

        It’s not so much about a campaign but more about gathering evidence, making a strong argument and reminding the regulators that enforcement is a statutory duty.

        Oh, that’s being taken care of…but the MHRA appear to move very, very slowly.

  9. Jeff Pickthall
    June 27, 2012 at 8:18 am

    No-one ducks like a quack.

  10. Richard Rawlins
    June 27, 2012 at 10:27 am

    No one ducks like a quack!
    I love it! To whom should I attribute it, when I pinch it?

  11. June 27, 2012 at 10:35 am

    I’d love to believe this, but I think it’s the triumph of hope over experience. Homeopaths are so experienced in denial, special pleading and political machinations that I am confident they will find some way of getting round the problem of selling inert preparations as “medicines”. I think we will see something like the “British sausage” proposal from Yes, Minister.

    Homeopaths reject all conflicting evidence. We know that. Their response to the increasingly solid scientific consensus against homeopathy is to put their fingers in their collective ears and chant “laa laa laa I’m not listening”. And then demand that they are judged by a different, /special/ kind of “science” that starts form the assumption that they are right, and from there, by a series of rigorous logical steps, proves that they are right.

    Homeopathy will not be shut down until we have a law that requires all claims of effect to be backed by the same type of evidence applied to drugs. Even the drug companies would probably lobby against this as it would materially affect their lucrative “nutraceutical” and cosmetics businesses, where inflated claims backed y weasel words and pseudoscientific gobbledegook is the main stock in trade.

    • June 27, 2012 at 12:01 pm

      Not so sure. This “threat to homeopathy” business really has demonstrated their lack of nous. They gambled on a strategy – lobbying for a change to the law – that could never work. Of course, homeopathy will not be shut down but the supply chain will be choked. The implications for the trade associations and interest groups are very nasty. Same for the homeopathic “colleges”. Loss of revenue. As businesses, they become untenable.

      “The End of Homeopathy” is hyperbole but it could shrink back to the position it was in before the 1970s. A few doctors and a handful of lay homeopaths and some OTC products.

      Selling homeopathic medicines as not-medicines would involve the kind of admission that homeopaths could not stomach. It’s a pragmatic solution and one that I have advocated for some time but…

      Radionics is the future of Homeopathy. I’m drawing up a business plan and hope to get the machines manufactured in China.

      • June 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm

        Yup. Aloha Vibrations advertise that they are the only FDA approved hormone-free HCG diet product – because it’s “vibrational” and therefore not actually homeopathic, so not covered by the FDA’s action against (unlicensed) homeopathic HCG..

        • June 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm

          “Approved” – oh dear. Claiming to be “approved” by a regulator almost anywhere is asking for legal action.

          • June 27, 2012 at 3:55 pm

            Like Mozi-Q, who use the weasel term “licensed” because their product has the usual homeopathy evidential exemption, so can be sold legally.

          • June 28, 2012 at 10:02 am

            I recall[1] an advert for a bonkers electronic “healing energy” device which cited some British or EU Standard approval for it, which turned out to be the appropriate regulation for Electrical Safety of appliances!

            [1] but no longer have a link for, sadly

          • Mojo
            June 28, 2012 at 10:25 am

            I’ve pretty certain I’ve seen some citing the EU “CE” marking.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            June 28, 2012 at 1:48 pm

            Of course, the presence of that EU CE certification merely guarantees the uselessness of the device. If it was not present there might be some prospect of it electrocuting the idiot using it and none of us would disagree that this would have significant biological consequences.

  12. MC
    June 27, 2012 at 8:46 pm

    Does anyone know if this applies in the same way to other non licenced “treatments” eg herbal medicines, TCM etc? Or is it specific to homeopathy?

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      June 29, 2012 at 6:31 pm

      I’ll echo that. Zeno? Malleus?

      I think the crux of it is that homeopathy has tried to cuddle up to the establishment and get its sugar classed as medicine. They asked for and were given rights to call their pills medicine but have been caught now by their failure to go down the licensing path with any bar a few of their remedies. This is not surprising given that they have thousands of them, but no one has accused the homeopaths of being very smart and this consequence clearly eluded them.

      Herbal medicines have an easy route to licensing as well but many more have been licensed,

      http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Publications/PublicAssessmentReports/PublicAssessmentReportsforherbalmedicines/index.htm

      the list on that page shows 151 in total since 2007. So it looks like Big Herbie has his act more together than Big Suga.

  13. June 27, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    It’s really just homeopathic products. However, herbalists are in limbo at the moment (for much the same reasons as homeopaths) – they can’t legally prescribe herbals because they don’t have prescribing rights, but the Government stated last year that the HPC will be given the job of regulating herbalists (both Chinese and western) – but the Department of Health consultation on how they propose to do this hasn’t been published yet (it’s several months late). During this limbo state, the Government aren’t going to enforce it.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      June 29, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      Sorry, Alan, I posted above without reading your post properly. I think I am unclear what it means to “prescribe” in this context. Can a herbalist point a client to one of those licensed products without any difficulty, even if the law was being enforced?

      • June 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm

        I think prescribe means what you think it means. Simply put, products are medicines or not medicines. If they are not medicines, they may be foods, but prescribing doesn’t come into it. (There’s a whole Borderline section of the MHRA devoted to determining whether something is or isn’t a medicine. It’s not just whether something has a pharmacological effect that makes it a medicine, it’s also what it is represented as.)

        If it is a medicine, it is (essentially) licensed (or registered) or it isn’t. All proper medicines are licensed with a Marketing Authorisation. Homeopathic products are either PLRs or registered under the HR or NR schemes – any not registered are classed as ‘unlicensed homeopathic medicines’.

        A prescription is generally required for a POM, but a medical doctor can prescribe any unlicensed medicine (homeopathic, conventional or herbal) on his own responsibility.

        Homeopathic PLRs, NR and HR products are on the General Sales List and can be bought by anyone – homeopath, doctor or any member of the public and don’t even need the supervision of a Pharmacist.

        Any unlicensed homeopathic medicine can be prescribed, but only by an Independent Prescriber or a Pharmacist directly to the intended user.

        For herbals, the same rules apply, but there are only MHRA Traditional Herbal Registrations – anything that doesn’t have a THR is an unlicensed medicine and the prescription rules are the same.

        However, THRs can only be manufactured herbal products (ie the OTC stuff you buy in ‘health’ food shops) and single unprocessed herbs, etc cannot be registered under the THR scheme. These are the sort of things your local TCM shop will sell you.

        For various reasons, the THR scheme created a gap: only those with prescribing rights can legally prescribe – what are now – unlicensed herbal products. To get round this problem, the Government announced last year that it would regulate both western and Chinese herbalists (by the Health Professions Council) so that they would be competent to make sure that anything they prescribed would be safe to give to the general public. Until this actually happens, they are in limbo. They are actually prescribing unlicensed medicines without the necessary prescribing rights.

        However, although some see the regulation of herbalists as a good thing, it merely gives them legitimacy and it remains to be seen whether the proposed regulatory scheme does what the Government has said was needed: protection of the public from dangerous, contaminated or adulterated herbs.

        Of course, homeopaths and their ilk talk about ‘prescribing’ their little sugar pills (and no doubt they really think they are prescribing potent medicines!), but they are using the term outside it’s legal meaning and simply mean they are selling you their products after they’ve had a bit of a cosy chat with you.

        Sorry for the long-winded reply (for the benefit of others more than for you!)- I can assure you this is the shorter version!

        If I’ve not got anything quite right, I’m sure Malleus Homeopathicum will correct me!

        • Badly Shaved Monkey
          June 29, 2012 at 11:45 pm

          Can the homs get round all of this my simply changing the labelling and claim?

          In the world of real drugs, it’s the claim that makes a thing a medicine, which is what the nutraceutical sellers dance to carefully around. If you market a compound and make medicinal claims for it, I get to report you to the MHRA or VMD. It’s the claim that causes the marketer the problem if he does not hold a marketing authorisation for the product as a medicine.

          Is it different for hom remedies? Does their nature satisfy a specific description of “homeopathic medicine” so that they are “medicines” independently of any claims made for them?

          • June 30, 2012 at 12:17 am

            In theory, if the homeopathic pharmacies stopped calling their products “homeopathic” and provided they made no claims for them, yes, they could get around the issues. They’d be selling sugar pills with odd names.

          • June 30, 2012 at 12:49 am

            But remember that the first arm of the definition of a medicinal product in Article 1 of Directive 2001/83/EC says:

            “Any substance or combination of substances presented as having properties for treating or preventing disease in human beings;” (My emphasis)

            How could a homeopath not present their sugar pills as treating or preventing disease? I know they use Woolly Weasel Words™ and say all sorts of nonsense things about not actually treating the symptoms/disease, but the MHRA might take a more pragmatic view and decide that anyone claiming to ‘treat’ someone with homeopathy is presenting their sugar pills as having these properties.

          • June 30, 2012 at 12:51 am

            Ah! What BSM said…

  14. Badly Shaved Monkey
    June 29, 2012 at 7:24 am

    @Ademo

    So my neck getting better after an osteopathic treatment is anecdotal hey?

    Yes.

    there are possibly hundreds of millions of people using alternative medicine around the world, and feeling better for it; at what point does anecdotal evidence become statistically significant? 10 millions, 50 millions, 100 millions?

    Never.

    I would hazard a guess that billions of roosters have crowed for millions of days just before sunrise. If there was a militant rooster-heliolifting therapist who insisted that roosters are essential to keep the Sun rising she could point to all that anecdotal evidence. And she would be wrong.

    Osteopathy for neck pain has higher prior probability than homeopathy, so the existence of lots of anecdotes has greater probability of pointing to a real effect than the same number of anecdotes for homeopathy. But in neither case do those anecdotes prove that the therapy works.

    Do you really have a problem with this argument?

    • R.Ross
      July 22, 2012 at 11:46 am

      So you reject the anecdotal nature of modern medicine? And the use of anecdotal evidence by anthropologists, sociologists, town-planners, lawyers, academics, archeologist and countless other professions? Interesting.

      So a doctor who has a patient come back and report a symptom – anecdotal – which the doctor cannot find in the extensive list of possible symptoms but which moves the doctor to change the medicine should not be doing it? The patient should be told, your symptom is anecdotal and it is not listed by the drug company so go away and keep taking the medication even though since you started you have not slept?

      And if the doctor has two or three or more people who then come in and report the same symptom the doctor should say, no, you must still take the medication because the information is anecdotal? Get real. The world revolves around anecdotal. Wars are fought and lost and won on the anecdotal. Cities are built; schools built; university courses established.

      Science uses the anecdotal. The only area where science refuses to use the anecdotal is in areas which it classes as ‘paranormal’ – mainly because it does not understand how they work and fears that if they find out it will destroy the foundation on which science has sat and masturbated for the past few centuries.

      Do you have a problem with this argument?

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        July 22, 2012 at 11:53 am

        Yes. Once you answer the questions about logical fallacies properly, so will you.

        Add Post hoc ergo Propter hoc fallacy to the list. I’ll give you a clue. In short, the role of good controls in proving causation is not optional, with, in theory, no exceptions and, in practice, very limited exceptions where none of those pertain to the messy world of homeopathy.

        Hey, this is fun.

        Keep sprinting.

  15. socratella
    June 29, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    If Ademo had a “neck injury”, why didn’t s/he go to a GP or a hospital?

    • Avijit
      June 30, 2012 at 7:42 am

      He read this blog AFTER he visited the osteopath.

      • Mojo
        June 30, 2012 at 10:53 am

        So (by Ademo’s reasoning) visiting the osteopath caused him to read this blog.

        • June 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm

          At least it was useful for something, then.

  16. Jermaine
    July 1, 2012 at 12:22 am

    My future homeopathic ‘confectionery’ store isn’t going to need a pharmacy licence. No expensive visits from the inspectors. No paperwork. Belladonna 200 winegums. Chamomilla 30 jelly babies and so it will go on.
    You sceptics are so naive. You think they can squash whatever you don’t believe in. So deluded.

    • Mojo
      July 1, 2012 at 9:03 am

      You won’t be able to sell any peppermints, of course.

    • July 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      Which is absolutely fine! It just involves giving up the idea homeopathic medicines are in fact medicines.

    • Mojo
      August 3, 2012 at 2:43 pm
  17. Jermaine
    July 1, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    They could be called ‘homeopathic’ products but with no use of the word medicine. Would all sceptics be happy with such a situation?

    I use homeopathy but am exasperated at the refusal of homeopaths to provide evidence to the outside world that there is anything there. I can sympathise with the desire to remove the word medicine if homeopaths will never even attempt to show that they can recognise a remedy without the label on. They will always have an excuse it seems. I have heard every excuse imaginable from them.

    • Mojo
      July 1, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      I use homeopathy but am exasperated at the refusal of homeopaths to provide evidence to the outside world that there is anything there.

      There isn’t anything there.

  18. Jermaine
    July 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    So until homeopaths are foolish enough to prove something is there via a rigorous double-blind test, they can merrily practice as normal. Only difference being that the word ‘medicine’ is never put into writing.

  19. Peter
    July 3, 2012 at 11:00 am

    I work in healthcare and take an interest in the outcomes of conventional, homeopathy and herbal remedies. I’ve looked at adverse reactions (based on the yellow card). Having seen those reactions – e.g. 1 child out of every 1000 having a severe fit – I would advise that people keep an open mind about all forms of treatment – rather than bash them so – like this website.

    The main issue here is that conventional medicine is not without its side effects and risks and clearly subject to its own fraud.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2167742/GlaxoSmithKline-pay-3b-fine-pleading-guilty-healthcare-fraud.html

    I didn’t see the MHRA making much issue about the drugs mentioned in the article link from Glaxo.

    The main issue is that homeopathy has some effect on treating side effects of conventional treatment. It should always be complementary to the main treatment. I don’t want to see it restricted as it would limit choice.

    • Mojo
      July 3, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      The main issue is that homeopathy has some effect on treating side effects of conventional treatment.

      [citation needed]

      And I see you have advanced the usual “medicine has side effects and risks” strawman argument. Nobody denies this. It is accepted that anything that can have an effect on the body is going to have the potential for adverse effects, which is why there are systems in place for monitoring this. What do you think the Yellow Card scheme is for?

      The reason that homoeopathy has no side effects is that it has no effects.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      July 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      Peter, as Mojo has pointed out, medicines have side effects because medicines have effects. Homeopathy has no side effects because it has no effects.

      The most depressing thing about people like you is that you trot out this little fallacy time and time again as if it is a piece of newly minted wisdom.

      The correct response, Peter, is for your next post to say “Oh, I see your point. I said a stupid thing and will not say it again.” It never happens.

      • Avijit
        July 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm

        BS Monkey

        You do not have to write this as a reminder–medicines have side effects because medicines have effects–

        The FDA connection is quite revealing.

        http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/DevelopmentResources/DrugInteractionsLabeling/ucm114848.htm

        The next time someone asks for effect, you can direct them to this site. It is quite authentic. Citation is not required. Unless the adverse affects are there, how can be sure of it being a medicine.

        • Badly Shaved Monkey
          July 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm

          Avijit

          So, as well as using a computer keyboard, you are also capable of stating the bleedin’ obvious.

          These are not high qualifications. About typical for a homeopath. Or a coral polyp.

        • Mojo
          July 3, 2012 at 9:56 pm

          Avijit, Jane already posted that one twice yesterday (and called us all “sheeple”). Nobody was impressed then either.

      • jane
        July 3, 2012 at 7:29 pm

        @BSM Can I ask why you called yourself ‘Badly shaved monkey’-honest answer please.

        • Badly Shaved Monkey
          July 3, 2012 at 7:58 pm

          “Darwinian man, though well-behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved.” W.S. Gilbert

          And I am not even that well shaved.

          • jane
            July 3, 2012 at 8:06 pm

            Thanks, interesting little quote.

  20. July 3, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Peter

    It looks like some at Big Bank fiddled the interest rate for their own greedy ends. Is it therefore OK for me to fiddle my tax return?

    The main issue is that homeopathy has some effect on treating side effects of conventional treatment.

    No, the main issue is that there is no good evidence that homeopathy has any effect in treating anything.

    • jane
      July 3, 2012 at 7:55 pm

      Alan H By ‘good evidence’ do you mean clinical trials? For now I will assume that you do. Clinical trials are biased and profit orientated. You want evidence, jeez where to start:
      http://healthimpactnews.com/2012/merck-is-sued-by-former-virologist-employees-for-deliberately-falsifying-mumps-vaccine-efficacy-studies/

      Actually I really don’t know where to start with this. The list is literally endless. Have a look for yourself. I doubt you will, like Mr Lewis you will just keep rolling out the same old story that clinical trials are the holy grail of the medical profession.
      With the changes in US and UK healthcare, and the power of the internet the truth is going to come out pretty soon and it will become obvious to all that people have been fooled for decades by profit and status driven individuals and corporations who don’t give a fig about your health and well-being. Look into the eyes (as I have done many times) of a person who has been on pharmaceutical drugs for many years and instead of white you will see yellow-as a result of chronic liver toxicity. Is this what you want for your children? Yes Andy, you can have a field day with that one, but it’s still a worthwhile question.

      • July 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm

        At no point is any objective proof ever provided to support the assertion that the clinical trial as a process is “biased”. There is a lot of evidence to support the scientific consensus that it is in fact pretty reliable, and that where it is wrong it is almost always the result of bias on the part of those performing the experiment.

        A clinical trial, properly conducted, takes a group of people, divides it in two in such a way as to ensure that the two subgroups are as similar as possible, applies an intervention to each group in such a was as to ensure that nobody knows during the trial who is receiving which treatment, and compares the outcomes using standardised statistical methodology.

        As processes go for testing a claim of efficacy, it is hard to see how this could be improved on. Certainly you won’t get a more reliable result by doing away with control groups, telling the experimenters who was receiving their preferred intervention, or ignoring the results you don’t like (all common features of the evidence homeopaths prefer over clinical trial evidence).

        There is nothing inherent in clinical trials that prevents them being a valid objective test of homeopathy. For acupuncture it took some time to develop a sufficiently convincing placebo, but in homeopathy it is trivially easy to simply substitute the prescribed “remedy” at time of dispensing, with all other aspects of the treatment of the verum and placebo groups being identical.

        Your problem, though, goes much deeper than this. In science, in order for a theory to gain acceptance, it must produce testable predictions and reliably refute the null hypothesis. In every single case homeopaths reverse this burden of evidence and demand that scientists instead prove the null hypothesis, in effect demanding that science prove that there are no invisible unicorns in the garden. The response of science to this kind of sophistry is, understandably, ridicule.

  21. July 3, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    jane

    You quoted something that had nothing to do with any good evidence for homeopathy, which was what you brought up and I called you on. You said:

    homeopathy has some effect on treating side effects of conventional treatment.

    Convince me.

    Clinical trials are biased and profit orientated.

    Do you know what those two words ‘clinical’ and ‘trial’ actually mean? It appears you don’t.

    • jane
      July 3, 2012 at 10:04 pm

      Alan you are getting me mixed up with someone else. I didn’t say
      “homeopathy has some effect on treating side effects of conventional treatment.” Not me.

      Yes I know what the words clinical and trial mean.

      • July 4, 2012 at 12:57 am

        Apologies jane – it was Peter who said that.

        But that still leaves what you did say:

        Clinical trials are biased and profit orientated.

        This statement still leads me to believe you really don’t understand what a clinical trial actually is. Do you think all clinical trials are, by their very nature, biased and profit oriented as you seem to be implying?

        • Avijit
          July 4, 2012 at 2:07 am

          I read some of the blogs and the follow up comments. The pattern is quite predictive. If one writer supports alternative medicine, there is a concerted rush to subdue him with multiple mails that include personal attacks, stupid questions, irrational comparisons, asking for citation for references, if references, then write in your words.

          These writers are the same for all blogs –Badly Shaved Monkey. Wills, Vicky, Mojo, Malleus homeopathicum, Andy lewis/Alan Henness . Looks like paid staff.

          The scene enacted is right out of the Animal Plant episodes in which a pack of dogs attack a lion. Each dog makes an attack, that is a fake to create a diversion but not one has the capability to make a serious attempt to take on the lion. In between the pack continuously chatter between them to distract the lion. This continues until the lion gets hold of one of the dogs and breaks its neck. The pack then slinks away along with the leader to find a new hunting ground and a wait for a new prey.

          • Mojo
            July 4, 2012 at 10:24 am

            Looks like paid staff.

            Why are apologists for CAM so obsessed with money?

            Avijit, what you are seeing here is a 386. If you are wrong on the internet, people will respond, without needing to be paid for it.

          • Mojo
            July 4, 2012 at 10:26 am

            Incidentally, do you see the irony of complaining about personal attacks in a post in which you compare the people opposing you to a pack of wild dogs, and accuse them of being paid shills?

          • Will
            July 4, 2012 at 10:42 am

            Avijit:

            Who is supposed to be paying me?

            Please do tell me, as I have never received a penny from anyone for my modest efforts challenging wild claims (or ‘subduing’, as you call it) and am now a bit cross. Please provide the details and I’ll be off to have a word with them about it.

            Or perhaps Badly Shaved Monkey, Vicky, Mojo, Malleus homeopathicum, Andy lewis, Alan Henness et al. could enlighten me:

            Guys, why are my cheques not coming through? Who do I need to speak to?

          • Vicky
            July 4, 2012 at 10:58 am

            Oh yes, it’s so unfair to ask for references. It’s also unfair to point out that some references don’t acutally say what the AltMed supporter thinks they say or to ask them what they think the references say. They’ve googled them and found them on some quack’s website, doesn’t that prove these references support AltMed beliefs?

          • Avijit
            July 15, 2012 at 3:19 am

            Vicky:

            This is what you wrote:

            Vicky on May 27, 2012 at 11:00 am
            Is it so hard to understand that people want YOU (with your words, not someone else’s) to explain what you think that means and how it is different from what homeopaths do (after all, isn’t selecting a “remedy” by looking up symptoms in a repertory pretty linear, too)?

            This was where quote and references of Dr. Hedge were used by iqbal.

            And I thought this was a quack website.

          • Mojo
            July 15, 2012 at 10:34 am

            Avijit,

            Iqbal was asked to explain what he was posting, in his own words, so that he could explain what the word “linear” meant in the context in which he was using it, and show that it was relevant.

            Is it so hard to understand that in quoting Dr. Hedge [sic] Iqbal was not using his own words? Or are you claiming that Iqbal is “Dr. Hedge”?

            And in fact, Iqbal didn’t provide references so that the passages he quoted could be seen in their original context, or even name the doctor he was quoting. He tried to rely on an argument from authority without even saying who the authority was.

          • Vicky
            July 15, 2012 at 1:29 pm

            And I thought this was a quack website.

            I guess that’s the problem then – if anything, this is an “anti quack”/quack buster website.
            You’re welcome.

  22. Badly Shaved Monkey
    July 3, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Too many nested replies!

    Jane,

    Andy said, “Whilst you may not be able to explain energy, the concept does indeed have a very precise definition – a definition that allows scientists and technologists to utilise energy to create the modern world around you.”

    This is the crux of it. Energy has effects. It really is quite irrelevant what it ‘is’. You, Jane, do not need to be able to produce a scientifically tight definition, but the point is that energy allows changes to occur. We can measure those changes. Your use of the word “energy” is hazy metaphor, but you claim that changes can be brought about by its application. But homeopathic remedies do not produce any changes. So, there is nothing useful behind your metaphor.

    That’s it. Not very hard at all. And you can bash medicine all you like, doing so does not mean homeopathy works. It is very tedious to have to keep repeating this point.

  23. Badly Shaved Monkey
    July 4, 2012 at 6:59 am

    On the news at the moment, GSK being fined $3bn for promoting unapproved uses of drugs.

    How many licensed, approved uses are there for homeopathic remedies? How much of the worldwide homeopathic industry is based on promoting unapproved use of their products?

    The irony, of course, is that because GSK’s products have real biological actions they actually might perform as advertised for these unapproved uses, but the company has not presented appropriate evidence to the licensing authorities. Homeopathy uses products that have no demonstrable affects at all for any purpose and have no hope at all of getting a proper license for any use.

  24. Vicky
    July 4, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Enough already.

    If you don’t mind me asking what is your PHD in-Energy? That is what we are talking about here.

    Irrelevant. If it was you’d have to prove that your PhD (if you hold one) is “in Energy” to be taken seriously.

    My main points have been-
    That we live in an energetic universe. I have asked if you agree or disagree several times now but no response.

    You could just as easily claim that since life is carbon based, homeopathy is carbon based, too. Or since we live in a chemical based universe, homeopathy is chemical based. Without saying what kind of energy homeopathy is supposed to possess, it’s just meaningless bla bla. That’s why didn’t receive an answer.

    And that science still has lots to work out, to which you did agree.
    I think this latter admission is really the crux of our argument. You hold fast that homeopathy and other systems of energy medicine do not work-full stop.
    Your argument seems to revolve around the issue that trials, as conducted by mainstream science, have shown no efficacy.

    Yes, homeopathy doesn’t work because ritually prepared sugar pills are just as useful (or rather useless) as blank sugar pills.

    Andy, as I have also pointed out in previous posts, that trials conducted through the medium of mainstream science are biased and profit driven.

    You have claimed this. It’s only pointing out if that is really the case – see BSM’s question.

    There is very little profit in proving the efficacy of a treatment that anyone can make and that cannot be patented.

    There’s quite a bit of money in homeopathy – see Heel, Weleda, Wala, Hevert, DHU, Boiron, … The problem isn’t that there’s no money in homeopathy, the problem is that there’s no legislation to force them to prove efficacy. Until legislation changes they have nothing to win by conducting trials, but a lot to lose if they do it (who would buy their products if they themselves showed that their pills and potions don’t perform better than placebo?).

    And those scientists who have made headway such as Benveniste have been subjected to the most unscientific treatment possible from the so called scientific community. What other scientific researcher has had their research watched over by a professional magician and arch sceptic?

    So what? You’re not a scientist, yet you’re free to criticise science. Admittedly, your criticisms are ludicrous, but you’re free to make them anyway. As for Benveniste, it should be pointed out that Randi was one of three investigators, the other two were scientists (John Maddox and Walter Stewart).

    There is something clearly amiss with this. It is obvious to one and all that it was set up to discredit his work in a most unscientific way.

    Um, no. It was discredited in a scientific way (by eliminating biases). Benveniste should have done that himself (before he even thought about publishing his results).

    The experiment was later replicated by Ennis. Wikipedia tells us that
    “A team of scientists failed to replicate these results. These experiments were conducted by reputable scientists under protocols set by the James Randi Educational Foundation under their million dollar challenge.”
    Do you really want to go into the arguments against having a magician’s ‘educational foundation’ set protocols for scientific experiments. I would really hope that you wouldn’t stoop so low.

    So a magician’s educational foundation can’t employ scientists who are able to set protocols?

    The problem is that the pharmaceutical industry is corrupted as we have seen today and will see again.

    I know I sound like a broken record, but no fault of mainstream science, however great it may be, proves that homeopathy works. The only way to convince scientists that homeopathy does indeed work is by providing scientific evidence.

    Anyway Andy I can’t debate this endlessly. We will have to agree to differ. So long as you have agreed, which you have, that science still has lots to work out and that corruption exists in mainstream science, which you have, then I don’t think you can categorically say that homeopathy doesn’t work…your arguments fall apart by your own admissions.

    Nice try, but no, as I said above: the only way to prove that homeopathy works is by providing scientific evidence. Until then, it’s safe to assume that it doesn’t work.

    Oh and do you agree or disagree that we live in an energetic universe?

    Do you agree that we live in a chemical based universe and that therefore homeopathy is chemical based?

  25. Badly Shaved Monkey
    July 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Jane, you said;

    The fact is Andy, as I have also pointed out in previous posts, that trials conducted through the medium of mainstream science are biased and profit driven.

    Trials of homeopathy are run by homeopaths and involve homeopaths. They are largely incompetent and most of the results are pig dribble. But some good trials have been run. The good trials group together to show no effect from homeopathic remedies. This occurs even though homeopaths are massively emotionally vested in and financially dependent on homeopathy working.

    Even with incompetent and biased researchers performing the work they are unable to stop the inherent validity of the methods of science from showing their pills to do nothing.

    Science wins.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      July 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      I think we can assume that Jane has now left the building.

    • R.Ross
      July 22, 2012 at 11:55 am

      Actually trials of homeopathy are not mostly run by homeopaths. They are run by scientists/medical professionals and often in order to prove it does not work and the results show it does and those involved have a change of mind. As to involving homeopaths it is hard to see how unusual that is. Can you do a trial on modern medicine, Allopathy, without involving Allopathic doctors? Can you do a trial involving brain surgery without involving brain surgeons? I think not.
      Quite simply, you are wrong. At this point there are positive and negative outcomes. However, what matters is that it works and no amount of research which fails to show how it works will stop the rising popularity of homeopathy as a healing methodology.

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        July 22, 2012 at 12:18 pm

        At this point there are positive and negative outcomes. However, what matters is that it works

        Argument by assertion. Not actually a logical fallacy, merely dim-witted.

        This really is quite a performance.

  26. Muscleguy
    July 4, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Jane we don’t need ‘healing energy’ we already know about healing and the discovery elicited a big D’oh! moment for Biomedical Science. Google ‘Serum Response Factor’ for the lowdown. But in short we knew about this protein which regulates DNA expression from cell culture studies. It is upregulated when you feed the cells some fresh serum. The big realisation came from eventually asking the question ‘when do cells, other than blood or blood vessel lining cells, see serum? when the animal is injured causing the blood vessels to break or leak. IOW SRF is the master switch turning on the genes needed for healing.

    We have found the secret to healing and products are in the pipeline as a result.

    SRF also plays a role during embryonic development such as helping to turn on and regulate the genes that make cells become muscle. Which is where I met it.

  27. R.Ross
    July 22, 2012 at 10:49 am

    And just as women went to England for aboritions because of the religious fanatics in Ireland, so too will the English go to Scotland to get their homeopathics if they need to to escape the science-religious fanatics. I guess the Queen, when she is told that her prime healing methodology is illegal can stock up when she goes to Balmoral!
    Apart from which homeopathy is not illegal in the UK and cannot be made illegal but fanaticism does lead to delusion.
    This guy is so silly he is funny!

    • Vicky
      July 22, 2012 at 11:24 am

      So asking homeopaths to respect the law is fanatism? All producers of homeopathic “remedies” need to do is register them.

      fanaticism does lead to delusion

      Speaking from experience?

      • R.Ross
        July 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm

        No, posting diatribes against homeopathy (or anything which helps but does no harm) is fanaticism.
        Homeopaths have absolutely no problem whatsoever with being held accountable or being regulated. In fact, as with all Traditional Medicine, they want and welcome it.

        The problem is only when the regulation is sourced in something only being accepted if it can pass the limited paradigm of mechanistic science. In other words, if science cannot prove how it works and therefore demands that it cannot work and this prevents remedies being legal, that is quite a different matter.

        However, should that come to pass, which is highly doubtful given the allegiance Brits have to the Queen and her use of and dependence on homeopathy, then of course homeopaths would and should abide by the law no matter how unfair and stupid the law might be.

        At that point I imagine people would simply travel to Scotland, Ireland or Europe (where homeopathy and herbal medicine have always been widely used – by Allopathic doctors as well) for consultations and treatments.

        I doubt the UK would ban homeopathic remedies being purchased by individuals by their use. I mean, given the campaign against cigarettes you can still buy them so homeopathics would still be available.

        So in truth, the chances of the UK taking this route are highly unlikely and even if they did no-one else would.
        e

        • July 22, 2012 at 12:07 pm

          Belief in homeopathy unquestionably does do harm: http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html

          As to whether homeopathy does good, the evidence is against you. A century ago doctors felt no compunction in prescribing placebo, now it is generally only done with informed consent as part of trials. The continued practice of homeopathy lags behind this change. Treating patients like children with tales of the tooth fairy and santa clause is “good” for those marketing tooth fairy and santa claus themed merchandise, but where’s evidence it is objectively good for anyone else?

    • Alan Henness
      July 22, 2012 at 11:25 am

      R.Ross said:

      And just as women went to England for aboritions because of the religious fanatics in Ireland, so too will the English go to Scotland to get their homeopathics if they need to to escape the science-religious fanatics. I guess the Queen, when she is told that her prime healing methodology is illegal can stock up when she goes to Balmoral!
      Apart from which homeopathy is not illegal in the UK and cannot be made illegal but fanaticism does lead to delusion.
      This guy is so silly he is funny!

      I guess you have absolutely no clue about UK law, then.

  28. R.Ross
    July 22, 2012 at 10:57 am

    And given that Homeopathy is used by most people in the world – 70-80% of people in developed nations make use of it and higher figures apply to others, if the fanatics did get it banned in the UK – although hard to see given that many MD’s and hospitals use it, then you will just have Brits going overseas or to Scotland and Ireland for treatment in the same way they go to Eastern Europe and India for plastic surgery.

    Homeopaths readily admit their remedies do not equal plastic surgery although there are remedies which can help people love themselves as they are and love their bodies as they are thus saving them a fortune on plastic surgery which they can use on air fares or ferry fares to get to their homeopath.

    What fascinates me is why the rage and outrage about Homeopathy which does no harm and helps millions around the world and has done for nearly three centuries. Many other things cause harm and energy would be better served in other areas – like pharmaceuticals – which kill hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Another reason why homeopathy is booming.

    But why the venal, visceral, irrational and fanatical hatred of Homeopathy? I mean, vegetarianism doesn’t appeal to most people and can seem rather silly, but those who practice it claim it helps to keep them healthy and even heals them when they are sick, just like homeopathy. But you don’t see the fanatics ranting and raving about having vegetarianism banned even though it can do harm and does, in ways which homeopathy does not.

    • Vicky
      July 22, 2012 at 11:25 am

      [citation needed]

      • R.Ross
        July 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm

        I have lived in the UK but am not British. Heaven’s I had not realised it was such a fascist State. Are you saying that if Homeopathy was banned that people who went elsewhere for treatment would be arrested and gaoled?
        The Irish were well aware women went to the UK for abortions but they did not do that.
        And while I may not be British I simply do not believe for a nanosecond that if it were banned that the Queen and her family would be checked for homeopathics when they returned from Scotland and arrested if they were found.
        Neither would it be possible to monitor personal use of homeopathics purchased online or from overseas.

        • Badly Shaved Monkey
          July 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm

          You have misunderstood the legal situation. This centres on the unlawful marketing of unauthorised medicines. If you could see for all the froth you are generating you could re-read Andy’s blog and grasp this.

          So now we add DUllman-grade wilful reading incomprehension.

          Carry on

        • Alan Henness
          July 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm

          R.Ross

          I’m not about to give you a geography, political and history lesson, but it seems you really do need them. However, Scotland is not independent and is still part of the UK and subject to most of the same laws as other UK citizens.

          Best also include physics, chemistry and biology in your lessons.

      • R.Ross
        July 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm

        The figures came from WHO reports I was reading recently. You can find them online. The WHO supports Traditional Medicine, of which Homeopathy is considered to be a part and it has encouraged integrative medicine. The fanatics have honed in on the WHO and given that the UN is dependent on funding and favour they may ‘wriggle a bit’ but it is a difficult one because homeopathy is so widely used and if form of Traditional Medicine which science neither understands or proves as working is banned, then you have to remove all of them and that won’t happen.

        In India in particular Homeopathy is the sole healing methodology and most Indians make use of it; ditto for Africa where it is returning – a. because it works and b. because it is cheaper than drugs and does no harm, unlike drugs. Homeopathy and herbal medicines are also common in Mission Hospitals in Africa (I live in Africa and have lived in four different countries)and they fit well with African Traditional Medicine.

        In Asia as well, homeopathy is widely used along with other Traditional methodologies. So I can’t really see the WHO turning against Traditional Medicine which means it can’t turn against Homeopathy.They can issue warnings, as one or two have done that it isn’t suitable for serious diseases but then no qualified homeopath would say: Oh, you have yellow fever, malaria or any other life-threatening disease, here take homeopathics.

        What they would say is that Allopathic Medicine is great in a crisis and here are the drugs to save you but we will give you homeopathics as well to limit side effects (these drugs can kill as well as cure and can have terrible side effects) and then we will find a remedy you can take which will help you to remain well. You don’t get malaria because an infected mosquito bites you – you get it because your body, for its own reasons – involving emotional, psychological and physiological cannot contain or fight the invader. I live and have lived in malarial zones and those who get malaria don’t get bitten more often than anyone else – they just have bodies which cannot cope – sometimes after weeks, sometimes after years and sometimes after decades.

        Homeopathy like much of Traditional Chinese Medicine works on the basis of treating the patient for small symptoms as they go along so they do not become big or deadly symptoms. Homeopathy does not heal per se: – well, no medical treatment does, the body heals – but homeopathy, like herbs and acupuncture etc., treats the cause of dis-ease, reflected in symptoms, in a bid to balance the body so its own healing system can kick-start into action more effectively.

        • R.Ross
          July 22, 2012 at 12:22 pm

          That should have been -In India in particular Homeopathy is the sole healing methodology for many and most Indians make use of it

        • Badly Shaved Monkey
          July 22, 2012 at 12:27 pm

          More argumentum ad populum. It adds nothing.

          Also, you said “honed in”. You don’t mean that. You mean “homed in”.

          Honing is done to give them a better cutting edge, a feat alien to the dull wits of homeopathy.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            July 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm

            Typo. Hard to parse sentences on a small screen in bright sunshine.

            Honing is done to give blades a better cutting edge, a feat alien to the dull wits of homeopathy.

        • Alan Henness
          July 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm

          Yep. Lots of people ‘use’ homeopathy. Now, let’s talk about the evidence for it.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      July 22, 2012 at 11:35 am

      Vegetarianism has a host of rational and ethical arguments to support it that even those of us who are not vegetarians must respect.

      Homeopathy is sugar pills sold by the deluded and the criminal to the gullible.

      I don’t see a great deal of overlap there.

      The curious thing, R Ross, is that as usual you turn up at a site like this ranting and fuming and insisting we respect homeopathy merely because of its popularity but I doubt that you will stick around for a critical examination of its claims. No homeopath ever does.

    • July 22, 2012 at 12:04 pm

      I do not think that homeopathy is used by most people in the world. Even if it were, there are several mutually inconsistent forms and interpretations of homeopathy – the only thing they have in common is the lack of any objectively testable validity.

      I’m curious, though: at one point the majority of people apparently believed that the sun was drawn into the sky by a deity; at what point along the transition form that to modern understanding of cosmology, did the deity stop doing the work and gravity take over?

      That’s the problem with belief systems like homeopathy – the belief does not impart reality, and trying to explain the belief in the language of reality merely puts off the day when understanding of reality replaces belief.

      • R.Ross
        July 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm

        Homeopathy is not about sugar pills just as acupuncture is not about needles. The pill and the needle are merely means of conveying the remedy.

        You clearly have no understanding of homeopathy and have never met a qualified homeopath.

        Vegetarianism is not ration. Vegetarianism as a religious belief is no more rational than circumcision or hijabs.

        Even science knows that what our body needs is nourishment and the more it gets from varied sources the healthier we are. It also knows there are minerals and nutrients in meat which are very hard to get anywhere else – if you are going to be a vegetarian, and it is harder for some than others, you need to put a lot of effort into your diet.

        Having spent nearly 15 years in various Third World countries where people worry about if they will eat, not what they will eat, vegetarianism, religion aside is an irrational indulgence. I happen to believe that carrots have consciousness and feelings as well as cows but I neither need or demand everyone else respects that.

        Ascribing greater consciousness to an animal than a fish or a flower is irrational. we simply do not know.More telling is that most vegetarians and vegans happily wear leather which comes from dead animals; buy furniture and equipment which uses animal glues and would not demand that we allow the greatest art and antiques to decay and disappear because they can only use animal glues for repairs.

        And heavens, you don’t have to respect homeopathy. You don’t have to like it, you don’t have to use it, but if you are going to demonise and seek to discredit then you do need to know what you are talking about and I have yet to meet a fanatic who does. Here’s the thing, where there is outrage there is inrage.

        I don’t think vegetarianism makes much sense but I couldn’t care less if people use it to heal or remain well. You don’t think homeopathy makes sense but you hate the fact that people use it to heal or remain well. Why? How does it matter? Why does it matter? Why so much rage? That is what does not make sense.

        Any visceral response toward something that poses absolutely no threat to us or to others for that matter, is about us – the demon is within, not without.

        And here’s the truth of it, the only reason I am here is because someone posted a link to it. I don’t bother with such sites but when people put up links I tend to access them and read. And when I see such ignorance and irrationality, I seek merely to post a balancing view on the basis that whoever accesses the site may have some balance.

        And homeopathy is not about belief. It works if you believe, don’t believe, are unconscious, a baby, an animal – actually it works really well on animals. As with all medicine there are some people for whom it does little or nothing but that applies to everything, including modern medicine. But for most it works and it works well.

        as to the sun analogy – well as a student of mythology I would say that the materialist, mechanistic mindset of the past couple of hundred years when Science has sat upon Soul, means that literalising what is metaphorical leads to mistakes. The belief which you select was metaphorical – always – and those who believed it would fall about laughing that anyone could think they meant it literally.

        • Badly Shaved Monkey
          July 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm

          Vegetarianism is not ration[al]. Vegetarianism as a religious belief is no more rational than circumcision or hijabs.

          Sorry guys. I’m just going to highlight that particular piece of wierdness and head off to the beach.

          • R.Ross
            July 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm

            If it is weird then surely you can explain what is rational about a belief system which holds that it is not okay to eat cows, sheep or pigs; or anything with a ‘face’ in the case of vegans, when it is okay to wear leather or use products which come from animals? Obviously some are so fundamentalist they seek to avoid it all but they are a tiny minority.

            The only rational reasons for vegetarianism are: 1. religious belief (no matter how irrational the belief it is rational to abide by it); 2. you don’t like the taste of meat (very sensible and completely rational) or 3. eating meat makes you feel unwell (rational and sensible).

            All other reasons are irrational and there are actually Homeopathic remedies which could help with 2. and 3. but possibly with 1. There are those who remain Hindu or Moslem and who decide to eat meat, just as many Catholics will now eat fish on Friday.

          • Alan Henness
            July 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm

            R.Ross said:

            The only rational reasons for vegetarianism are: 1. religious belief (no matter how irrational the belief it is rational to abide by it); 2. you don’t like the taste of meat (very sensible and completely rational) or 3. eating meat makes you feel unwell (rational and sensible).

            Utterly irrelevant to the UK regulations on homeopathy, of course, but I’m vegetarian and my reasons (which are entirely rational) aren’t covered by your three: I’m not religious; I liked the taste of meat and eating meat didn’t make me unwell.

            Anyway, back to the topic in hand. Do you think homeopaths should be law-abiding citizens?

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            July 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm

            R Ross

            I’m not here to defend vegetarians who are not vegans, but as Alan says your rather foolish views of vegetarianism exclude many good reasons for being one that do not require one to be a vegan. I’m not one and yet I find this perfectly obvious.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            July 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm

            But, you seem not to want to answer Alan’s on-topic question. Please, do so.

          • Vicky
            July 22, 2012 at 6:57 pm

            R.Ross, do you remember what the subject of this blog post was? (No, you needn’t read the whole thing, I’ll tell you: the MHRA has clarified that no laws have been changed, so it was never legal to sell unlicensed homeopathic “remedies” via phone or online.)
            It doesn’t really have anything to do with that blog post, but let’s discuss vegetarianism:

            Vegetarianism is not ration. Vegetarianism as a religious belief is no more rational than circumcision or hijabs.

            How is it a religion?

            Even science knows that what our body needs is nourishment and the more it gets from varied sources the healthier we are. It also knows there are minerals and nutrients in meat which are very hard to get anywhere else – if you are going to be a vegetarian, and it is harder for some than others, you need to put a lot of effort into your diet.

            Even science? Nope, through science we know this. Being vegetarian isn’t very hard as long as you eat eggs and/or milk and milk products. It’s harder if you’re vegan, but it’s still managable.

            I happen to believe that carrots have consciousness and feelings as well as cows but I neither need or demand everyone else respects that.

            Okay, so you’re an idiot.

            Ascribing greater consciousness to an animal than a fish or a flower is irrational.

            Fish are animals. Flowers don’t have a nervous system, so it’s quite rational to assume they are less conscious than animals. You should have learned that in primary school.
            I don’t think vegetarianism makes much sense but I couldn’t care less if people use it to heal or remain well.
            While there are a few “nuts” who are vegetarian because of that, most vegetarians and vegans I know are vegetarian/vegan purely for ethical reasons.

            If it is weird then surely you can explain what is rational about a belief system which holds that it is not okay to eat cows, sheep or pigs; or anything with a ‘face’ in the case of vegans, when it is okay to wear leather or use products which come from animals?

            Easy – because vegetarians don’t usually believe that! I for one am a vegetarian because I think eating meat and wearing animal skin is unnecessary.

            The only rational reasons for vegetarianism are: 1. religious belief (no matter how irrational the belief it is rational to abide by it);

            LOL.

            2. you don’t like the taste of meat (very sensible and completely rational)

            Most meat doesn’t taste like much, you need to season it. It’s more about texture.

            3. eating meat makes you feel unwell (rational and sensible)

            That’s actually the reason most vegetarians and vegans I know cite, though I expect you don’t mean it the same way they do. (It feels bad to know that an animal had to give its life unnecessarily.)

            There are those who remain Hindu or Moslem and who decide to eat meat, just as many Catholics will now eat fish on Friday.

            So what?

            Okay, now to your “arguments” regarding homeopathy:

            The figures came from WHO reports I was reading recently. You can find them online.

            That’s not how it works. You make the claim so you provide the links.

            In India in particular Homeopathy is the sole healing methodology and most Indians make use of it; ditto for Africa where it is returning – a. because it works and b. because it is cheaper than drugs and does no harm, unlike drugs.

            Untrue – India you can get real medicine (if you’re able to pay for it), the same is true for African countries – you can get real medicine (if you’re able to pay for it). Unfortunately many people in both India and most of Africa are poor, they cannot afford real medicine so they try to at least get something. For some things a placebo is better than nothing. btw: for something to return it has to have been there and gone away – how many African countries are there where this can be said of homeopathy? Which are they?

            You clearly have no understanding of homeopathy and have never met a qualified homeopath.

            Sure, they were all fake. Please tell me how to find “qualified” ones.

            And homeopathy is not about belief. It works if you believe, don’t believe, are unconscious, a baby, an animal – actually it works really well on animals.

            If this were true scientific studies would show it, no belief needed. That’s the beauty of science. Good scientific studies never show homeopathy performs better than placebo, however, that’s how we know that homeopathy doesn’t work.

          • Vicky
            July 22, 2012 at 7:00 pm

            Oh, it seems I missed one quote-tag. Should look like this:

            I don’t think vegetarianism makes much sense but I couldn’t care less if people use it to heal or remain well.

            While there are a few “nuts” who are vegetarian because of that, most vegetarians and vegans I know are vegetarian/vegan purely for ethical reasons.

        • Badly Shaved Monkey
          July 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm

          No, I can’t resist.

          Presumably all those victims of human sacrifice made by the Aztecs to keep the Sun rising had just one thought in their fading consciousness as their bodies bounced down the temple steps, “Well, at least that was only metaphorical”

          TTFN

        • July 22, 2012 at 8:02 pm

          Well, I suppose it’s true to say that homeopathy is not “about the sugar pills” in that we know the sugar pills do nothing at all, and the effect is down tot he consultation process (http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2010/11/08/rheumatology.keq234.full) but you are still arm-waving. Your entire thesis is postulated on the basis of a form of vital force for which absolutely no objective evidence exists.

          You are of course entirely wrong to assert that I know nothing about homeopathy, nor are qualifications in homeopathy necessary in order to do so. It is not the case that only ordained ministers can understand the nature of religious belief, after all. And that is an entirely appropriate parallel: homeopathy is, after all, basically a religion, not a system of medicine. There is no objective difference between a deity and a life force as a basis of a belief system when neither is objectively verifiable.

          You really do need to sit back and think more clearly, though – asserting in one breath that homeopathy is real and implying in the next that it is metaphorical and thus not amenable to msterialist analysis does not really help your case.

          • Alan Henness
            July 22, 2012 at 8:59 pm

            Guy

            I’m afraid even that trial didn’t really show what the homeopaths thought it did: Homeopaths attempt to salvage a positive result from treatment failure in an underpowered trial:

            The authors can therefore make no claim that they reached either primary outcome, nor indeed can they claim that any outcome, whether positive or negative, is worthy of interpretation, since they used post hoc analysis to identify these results. Such analysis is suitable for hypothesis generation but cannot legitimately constitute a prospectively predicted positive result. The above critique does not mention the frankly risible premise that the authors imply as a conclusion (i.e. they are claiming that simply being assessed by a homeopath is a direct cause of improvement in biological disease markers of RA to a degree comparable to rigorously tested DMARDs). The authors do not provide any rationale by which this may be achieved.

          • July 23, 2012 at 10:22 am

            Oh sure, they tried to spin it positively. My point was mainly that even when homeopaths conduct a test, if they do it honestly, the remedies themselves turn out to have nothing to do with the outcomes – which is of course precisely as expected given that any other outcome would be physically impossible.

  29. R.Ross
    July 22, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Jane, I have just been reading your posts. Good work. I am never surprised but always bemused when men, and it does seem to be a male thing, resort to: ‘I am a…… fill in word and I know what I am talking about and you don’t.

    Here is the description of energy as defined by modern physics:

    Energy is the capacity of a physical system to perform work. Energy exists in several forms such as heat, kinetic or mechanical energy, light, potential energy, electrical, or other forms.

    So the ‘energy’ which turns on a light may not be the same ‘energy’ which a pharmaceutical uses to ‘do work’ nor that a homeopathic remedy uses to ‘do work’ (of healing) but it is most definitely energy.

    However, for some bizarre reason, the naysayers get hysterical when the word ‘energy’ is used except in their one accepted sense; it is the equivalent of holding a crucifix in the face of an atheist. Not rational but always to be expected.

    Here is an article on how homeopathy might work – it’s a good one – although homeopaths like science are not sure about how exactly it may work – energy of some kind is definitely involved for that is how work is done and healing happens but Paul Callinan raises some interesting theories.

    http://www.marlev.com/HowItWorks.htm

    And if you can be bothered – keep up the good work. The fact is the naysayers don’t have a snowballs chance in hell of getting rid of homeopathy and perhaps that is what enrages them most of all.

    • Badly Shaved Monkey
      July 22, 2012 at 11:45 am

      R Ross, sorry, but laughable bollocks about energy is not a good start.

      But, you have invoked a different logical fallacy as well, which is fun. This rapid run through of logical fallacies makes a good companion to a Gish Gallop. It probably deserves its own name. The DUllman Sprint.

      The really funny part is that you have accused your opponents of the fallac of argument from authority but have got it wrong. Do you know in what way?

      • R.Ross
        July 22, 2012 at 11:48 am

        Logical fallacy is an oxymoron which the materialist mindset came up with to discredit arguments when they actually could not do it in any logical or sensible way.

        Can you explain why the explanation of what energy is, by physics, a branch of science by the way, is invalid?

        • July 22, 2012 at 11:57 am

          No, fallacy is a concept in formal logic. It is a way of describing the reasons why an argument is wrong. Unfortunately you won’t understand this due to the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    • July 22, 2012 at 11:55 am

      R Ross: Energy, in all its known forms, is objectively quantifiable, obeys the laws of conservation of energy, is convertible and is universal. The form of energy you hypothesise is none of these things. As far as anyone can tell, it doesn’t exist – it is merely hypothesised by practitioners of woo as a more palatable alternative to the null hypothesis.

      The energy that switches on a light is, depending how deep you want to go, the conversion of chemical energy to kinetic energy within the body, with this kinetic energy released as sound (a click) and a change in the potential energy of a device (the switch). Electrical current can then flow because a circuit which was interrupted, is made; this electrical energy is converted to heat and to light energy (and possibly some sound). All these forms of energy are known, quantifiable, and the equations governing them and the transfer in progress can be precisely and mathematically stated in each case.

      None of this applies to woo energy, the type you are discussing. The reason is either that woo energy is so powerful yet so subtle that nobody can quantify it or observe it; or that woo energy is complete bollocks.

      In the absence of any testable predictions in respect of woo energy, the latter interpretation is the one that is always going to win.

      • R.Ross
        July 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm

        What on earth is ‘woo’ energy. What a strange word to use in a post which sees itself as sitting proudly on the foundation of rational science.
        So you disagree with physics that energy is that which does ‘work’ – in other words, that which has an effect – which has the power to affect and effect?
        Well, I am going to stick with the explanation physics gives which works perfectly as a description of the ‘energy’ at work in Homeopathy.

        And whenever the need to resort to insult, name-calling and mockery arises I know that there is no case from the other side. Never let propaganda get in the way of reason or common sense.

        Logical – reasoned, consistent – fallacy – a failure in reasoning. Oxymoronic.

        • Andy Lewis
          July 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm

          I do love how quacks with no understanding of physics feel happy to wade into discussions of physics as if they do.

          • R.Ross
            July 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm

            My point is made perfectly – no argument of any substance so we resort to insults, name-calling and mockery. How funny.

          • Andy Lewis
            July 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm

            R.Ross

            It is not an insult. You have absolutely no idea about physics and energy. And yet you feel capable of using some vague, meaningless concept of energy to justify your health beliefs. Quackery.

            If you had any understanding of what energy was you might answer the questions posed to you about it.

            Again. Energy is quantified in Joules. How many joules do you think are in the remedies in order to do their ‘work’? How could you tell?

            In short, how could you tell if your theory of “energy” in the pills was responsible for ‘working”. Can you think of any conceivable test that would tell your theory of ‘energy’ apart from my theory of ‘magic pink invisible unicorns’*?

            If your idea has any substance, you would easily be able to answer this.

            (*My theory is that magic pink invisible unicorns make homeopathy work. Their little hooves do the healing. Prove me wrong.)

          • R.Ross
            July 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm

            You have no idea what I know. Or do not know. But I do know enough about homeopathy to know you don’t know much. Or not as much as you think.

            Quackery is another instance of name-calling indicative of a lack of true argument.

            I don’t know and don’t care how many Joules. I am a very good cook and I have absolutely no idea how many joules are required to do what I do, nor any interest in knowing. I do have an understanding of the science and art of cooking and I get the results so that is enough for me.

            I do have an understanding of the science and art of homeopathy and I get the results so that is enough for me.

            I have no idea how many things work but what matters is that they do. If something does not work I don’t use it.

            Homeopaths will admit that there are theories about how it might work but nothing conclusive although research continues. But there is nothing strange in this for science – gravity works not because we know exactly what it is and how it works but because scientists can observe effects. Homeopathy is exactly the same.

            The term ‘energy’ is used in a ‘catholic’ sense – that which peforms ‘work’ – in other words, that which has an effect on something else and which demonstrates that it does.

            I have no need to prove anything to you or anyone else. I would keep an open mind on pink unicorns – if that works for you then well and good. If I saw a need for it I might explore but if not I would not mock, ridicule or demonise you for it; ditto for homeopathy.

            Here is the reality: Homeopaths and Homeopathy have no need to prove anything to anyone. The consistent increase in the use of Homeopathic Medicine is enough to suggest that it works for enough people even though the sort of proof on which science leans is not available. For a variety of reasons.

            And the only question I would put to you and I don’t expect an answer is:

            Given that homeopathy helps (for whatever reason) millions of people around the world and has done for nearly three centuries – how would the world be better off if it did not exist and if, as is the case, it continues to grow and to help even more people, without harming anyone then how would this have a negative effect on society?

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            July 22, 2012 at 3:08 pm

            Hang on just a cotton pickin’ minute, R. Ross.

            It was you who came here invoking some woolly concept of your own that you label energy.

            You now say you were using it in a “catholic” sense, where catholic, in this instance, obviously just means wrong.

            Now you play the ‘poor little me, I’m not a scientist’ card, so we’re not allowed to have answers for any of the relevant questions that inevitably flow from your assertions. If you can’t make your claims stand up to scrutiny, don’t make them.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            July 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm

            how would the world be better off if it did not exist

            We would not have the corrosive effect of people being lied to and sold patent untruths. We would not suffer the associated dumbing down of all public discussions that involve assessment of scientific information. In the wider world, homeopathy is trivial but is emblematic of the New Stupid. This is no different from the old stupid that has haunted people since prehistory except that it parades itself in public and demands rights for itself.

          • Andy Lewis
            July 23, 2012 at 10:28 am

            R.Ross

            I did not ask you if you cared about how many Joules there are in a homeopathic remedy. You obviously care enough to pose your ‘energy’ argument in favour of homeopathy, but not enough to think about what that means.

            Whilst you may not care how many Joules it takes to cook your food, it is very easy to measure this value. The theory that cooking requires energy is on sound footings. Not so for your energy theory of homeopathy.

            I posed my invisible unicorns question for a very good reason. It cuts to the core of issue of what it means to have a good explanation for something. I could quite easily make my unicorn theory explain all the facts of homeopathy. (The fact you cannot see their little pink hoof marks on your pills is of course that they are invisible.)

            But just like your ‘energy’ theory, all the parts of my explanation are completely arbitrary and interchangeable. As you yourself say, “If my theory works for me, then all well and good”. If we are all free to choose our own explanations, then in what sense do we have an explanation at all?

            But yes, homeopathy is consistent with well established science. We do indeed have very good scientific explanations for what is observed. Chemistry and Quantum Theory tells us that homeopathic sugar pills are inert because they contain no active ingredients. Biology tells us that there can be no universal healing cure as proposed by Hahnemann. Psychology shows us the many thinking errors and biases that lead people to think homeopathy works when it does not. These are not arbitrary explanations. They are consistent with the rest of science. Homeopathic ‘energy’ and other cod explanations are not consistent. They are superfluous, arbitrary and unevidenced.

            You will, of course, not understand this.

            But the most troubling part of your response is the statement “I have no need to prove anything to you or anyone else.”

            In 12 words, you sum everything wrong in the world of homeopathy. You see, you do have a huge moral duty to ensure that you are correct in what you say and to demonstrate that to others. You make claims about health with, potentially, life or death consequences. And as such, your actions and the beliefs they are based on, should be subject to thorough scrutiny. Perhaps you believe you do not need to do this, as uniquely in the history of the human species, homeopaths are incapable of error.

            Whilst homeopaths persist in such unethical and dubious forms of thought, expect that scrutiny whether you like it or not.

          • Badly Shaved Monkey
            July 23, 2012 at 11:45 am

            “I have no need to prove anything to you or anyone else.”

            What is more, those words can from someone who, it would seem, makes a commercial income from the enterprise and at the same time was claiming to welcome statutory regulation.

            In that latter regard, we see the real motivation, it has nothing to do with regulation in the sense of having their activities controlled and disciplined and everything to do with wanting an official seal of approval on their games of pretend-doctoring.

            Power without responsibility. Homeopaths and merchant bankers. And harlots according to Rudyard Kipling. Who’d have thought they have so much in common.

        • July 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm

          Here you go: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Woo_energy

          Incidentally, “rational science” is an attempt at erecting a false dichotomy. All science is rational. The realm of the non-rational is in philosophy, not science.

          And no I do not disagree with physics. Energy is, by definition, the capacity to do work. You do not appear to understand the meaning of the term “work”, this is due to a linguistic imprecision in the English language. Energy is measured in Joules, work in Watts, and in fact work is really a side-effect of the decay of matter from an ordered to a less ordered state, in accordance with the laws of thermodynamics. Which, funnily enough, along with virtually every other principle of science, contradicts the assertions of homeopathy.

          And no, arguing over the semantics of the term used to describe the reason you are wrong, will not make your arguments any less fallacious or you any less wrong.

          • July 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm

            I mean work /done/ in Watts, obviously – Joules per second. And the sooner I kick this anaemia the happier I will be :-)

  30. Badly Shaved Monkey
    July 22, 2012 at 11:38 am

    P.S. if you think you are capable of engaging in discussion of homeopathy’s claims then the first thing you will need to do is explain why argumentum ad populum is a logical fallacy and illustrate your explanation with some examples.

    Over to you…

    • R.Ross
      July 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      argumentum ad populum is not the basis of my support for homeopathy, nor that of homeopathy in general. It is not about belief – it is about demonstrable effect. People certainly come to hold beliefs after experiencing that something works but belief is not a priori.

      Anything which does not demonstrably work or which demonstrates harm, is dropped. Homeopathy has lasted and continues to grow because it works and does no harm – simple as that.

      The advantage of a good understanding of history, particularly medical history is that it is easy to see the instances of ‘what seemed like a good idea at the time – but wasn’t’ do not endure. Human beings are nothing if not sensible.

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        July 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm

        Argument ad populum again. While telling us it isn’t.

        And post hoc ergo propter hoc again.

        And argument from antiquity.

        Your posts are like a no trumps grand slam of every weak and wrong argument I have ever seen homeopaths use.

      • July 22, 2012 at 8:38 pm

        There are two separate arguments, which you seek to conflate. The argument with homeopathy is not about demonstrable effect, it is about the explanation for the observed facts.

        Doctors have always known that giving someone an inert substance and telling them it will have an effect, will to an extent provoke the effect. We know that the size of the effect is dependent on expectations, the consultation process, the nature, size, frequency and even colour of the inert substance administered. We have good, solid evidence of all of this, and some idea of how it works. It is a testable hypothesis that stands up to objective scrutiny.

        Homeopathy does exactly the same thing as administering a placebo, with exactly the same result, but homeopaths assert that it is different. They do so on the basis of a series of unproven or plain wrong hypotheses, not one of which is objectively true and many of which are in conflict with extremely robust science. You assert that the number of people who have believed this idea since it was invented from whole cloth in the 1790s is “evidence” that it is true, but that is false, just as the number of people who believe that the crowing cockerel makes the sun rise does not make it true.

        Homeopaths are dogmatists, they state in absolute terms as true something which is merely a belief. Science is the polar opposite. Careful scientific investigation of homeopathy notes that it is highly implausible, has no sound theoretical foundation, and the observed results are consistent with the null hypothesis of placebo effect, natural history of disease, observer bias and so on – things which, unlike homeopathy, can be shown to exist and explained without recourse to arm-waving away big chunks of physics, chemistry, biology and the like.

        Science says that no test to date has reliably shown an effect other than placebo from the process of homeopathic treatment. It has been tried many times, with more or less care, and there is strong evidence that the more care is applied, the more closely the outcome matches the null hypothesis.

        So you are faced with something which, after 200 years of use over most of which time it has been trying to resolve the obvious and increasing inconsistency with parallel advances in science, still has no objectively verifiable proof.

        If you read the literature a homeopath will tell you that when you take a remedy your symptoms will get better, get worse, or stay the same, and that all of these are evidence of the remedy working (unless they are evidence that it’s the wrong remedy). There are no objective tests that support this; the contents of remedies are, as far as any objective evidence can tell, completely random and irrelevant. Having read widely on the subject I cannot find a single reference that gives any credible test that reveals a quantifiable difference between any two remedies. If I were to substitute the arnica in your bottle with arsenicum album, or any other variant of the merda bulbum which is homeopathy, there is absolutely no way you would be able to tell. If you can prove that this is untrue then there are substantial cash prizes you could win.

        The reason we think homeopathic remedies are placebos is that no other explanation is possible, consistent with the extensive and incredibly painstaking work done on the nature of matter in the last hundred years and more. You want us to discard all that in favour of arm-waving and semantic juggling, on the basis of results that, it turns out, are equally consistent with the “remedies” being inert.

        And *that* is why you are not going to persuade anyone here without bringing dramatically better arguments and data.

        • R.Ross
          July 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm

          You demonstrate your ignorance yet again of Homeopathy and how it is practised and you repeat things which are quite simply wrong. The things you say that Homeopaths say are nothing I have ever heard or read from a Homeopath. Do you make it up as you go along? Or do you seek out people who are not qualified Homeopaths so you can maintain your beliefs without tripping over truth?

          And, your claim of ‘having read widely’ when followed with the most ludicrous statement which anyone who ever read about Homeopathic Remedies, would simply fall about laughing it is so far from the truth makes me doubt not just your credibility but perhaps reason.

          Look, I don’t give a toss if people believe in Homeopathy or use Homeopathy or use Homeopathy in the same way I don’t give a toss what approach people take to Allopathy. The only thing I do care about is balance and if I have the time, when I come across articles and posts like this which demonstrate the most egregious ignorance and bigotry, I will post a counter view simply to provide balance.

          I have no need or intention of convincing anyone – you cannot, not about anything, ever. All anyone can do is provide what they know or believe about something and then leave it to those to read it to decide whether or not they see enough sense in it, or relevance to them, to pursue it further.

          Put it this way, you and those like you have not only a visceral hatred of Homeopathy, they have no interest in doing anything but seeking to demonise and discredit. But, beyond the fanatics, one does find posts of interest which I have done. My only purpose in posting, is not to persuade anyone of anything but to perhaps offer some words which may be of some interest or use to others. No more, no less.

          • July 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm

            The fact that you have not read them does not make them false. You appear to think that you are omniscient in this subject, but you are not – I will bet you a fiver that some people here have read more about homeopathy than you have.

            Do feel free to cite a reference to an objective test that can repeatably tell one remedy from another – obviously in 12C or higher dilution and in the same form, since to claim that you can distinguish 400C oscillo tablets from 12X arnica drops would be pointless and stupid.

            The problem with the balance you crave is that it is false balance. We do not balance study of lunar geology with the green cheese theory, science is concerned with the world as it is not as people fantasise it might be. Homeopathy consistently fails any test founded in objective reality. This result, unlike homeopathy, is consistent with all other branches of knowledge.

            Your issue is not with science, it’s with reality – all science does is describe that reality.

  31. Badly Shaved Monkey
    July 22, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I’ll ask you another question. Energy is measured in Joules. How many J does the homeopathic remedy supposedly expend to “‘do work’ (of healing)”?

    Sprint on…

    • July 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      Woo energy is measured in jewels not Joules. The jewels are actually small pieces of healing crystal. I thought everyone knew that?

  32. Badly Shaved Monkey
    July 22, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Wow, you’re a feisty one.

    A logical fallacy is not an oxymoron. It simply defines a form of argument that is disallowed in rational discourse. Their use does not prove you wrong, but they simply stand as voids where you could be making rational arguments. Your problem, unfortunately, is that you have none of the latter.

    Sprinting on…

  33. Badly Shaved Monkey
    July 22, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    By the way, quackery is not mere name-calling. It has a useful and quite tight definition derived from an old word “quacksalver”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quackery#section_2

    It is neither more nor less pejorative than, say, burgler. And is about its moral equal. It doesn’t make the use if the term wrong. Members of the burgling community might resent the use of their trade description but that’s of no account to me.

  34. Badly Shaved Monkey
    July 22, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Sorry, R. Ross, but you are busted beyond repair. Busted into a state that would allow Humpty Dumpty to declare, “It’s just a flesh wound” with greater legitimacy.

    Do you have even an iota of an inkling of a clue of what has been done to you?

    • R.Ross
      July 23, 2012 at 11:52 am

      Absolutely nothing has been done to me. There’s a ‘schoolyard mentality’ at work here with a lot of people trying to bully their way through but it doesn’t work. I take none of it personally. I set out to post alternative opinion and succeeded, as have a few others. Those reading will make up their minds, if they are not too closed-minded, what makes most sense and that is the most that anyone can seek to gain and Homeopathy will continue as it has done for nearly three centuries, and increasingly so, to heal and help where it can.

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        July 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

        Sticking to the fallacies as arguments tactic. Fair enough.

  35. July 22, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Will Placebo medications still be legal even if they are Homeopathic-based? The boffins at None Labs certainly hope so.

  36. Badly Shaved Monkey
    July 23, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Is that it then? Another homeopath runs away after a flurry of blustery rhetoric.

    >ENDWOO

    • R.Ross
      July 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm

      Has it occurred to you that people exit because they actually have a life and better things to do than ‘banter’ with bigots? Probably not. Chat amongst yourselves – it is called preaching to the converted.

      • Mojo
        July 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm

        What is bigoted about expecting claims to be backed up by decent evidence?

        That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. I’m perfectly aware that your use of the word “bigots” was just another ad hominem. As was your comment about having a life.

      • Badly Shaved Monkey
        July 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

        And yet here you are again full of trite little self-justifications instead of addressing any of the numerous counter-arguments arrayed against you. Your lengthy reply to Guy Chapman’s detailed post suggests you don’t even read the arguments being made against you.

        One odd thing you keep telling us that we can’t have met any homeopaths. I can assure you that we variously have. I for one have appeared in public debate against a homeopath. He made the same idiotically fallacious arguments as you. The problem for you is that the arguments in favour of homeopathy are all idiotically fallacious. Just read back at your posts here and see what has been said in response to each of them. If you cancel off everything you have said that is ridiculous and wrong you are left with a net balance, a core of valid statements, that contains absolutely nothing.

      • July 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm

        Ah, another canard – how appropriate, given the site.

        Just for the sake of absolute clarity: science is open-minded, it will (and does) test homeopathy even though it is utterly implausible. The result is not a surprise, but it is honest.

        Homeopathy is a religion, steeped in dogma. It will not permit of the possibility that Holy Writ as laid down by the Prophet Hahnemann is – gasp! – wrong. And yet people who have this fixed belief accuse science of being bigoted because the scientific method – even when used by homeopaths – shows that remedies are completely inert.

        Can you say “irony”?

        Science has no problem with the concept of being wrong. Einstein was wrong on determinism, it doesn’t spoil science’s day. But the only thing that proves science wrong, is better science. Homeopathy is non-science. It’s a religion. And (more irony!) you’d probably have better luck protecting your false claims in advertisements if you accept that and embrace it!

  37. Badly Shaved Monkey
    July 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    R. Ross

    Your posts are boring and repetitive. Try answering a specific question. Are all things that are popular true?

  38. September 7, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Now get your self Free and Paid Homeopathic Advice and Medicine from the best panel of doctors with tested results. This foundation works on no profit / loss basis and hence charges for your medicine only. Visitwww.homeopathiconline.org and get best and instant results. First Technology Solution Online. Emailadvice@homeopathiconline.org for more information

  39. Grumpycat
    September 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Well what went wrong then Andy?

Leave a Reply