Field of Science

Scientists speak out against homeopathy

Nature has had a number of articles recently about pseudoscience teaching in British universities, and how some scientists are speaking out against it. Recently a group of them have taken on homeopathy, which has a long-term following in Germany and England. It is also practiced here in the U.S., though not as much.
The latest from our friends in England is an open letter by a group of scientists, led by Prof. Gustav Born of Kings College London, asking that the National Health Service stop paying for homeopathy. (Wait - can you believe this? They pay for homeopathy! What an absolutely awful waste of money.) There are all kinds of reasons not to pay for homeopathy: first, it doesn't work. Second, it encourages people to believe in a system that is anti-scientific (and doesn't work).
Steven Novella (of The Skeptics Guide to the Universe) has a blog on this topic as well, which I recommend.
By the way, if you've not heard of homeopathy, here's the 25-cent summary. Practitioners of this hocus-pocus believe that incredibly minute amounts of substances can treat symptoms. The "substances" are usually something connected with the symptom - they have a (completely unfounded) belief that "like treats like"; in other words, something that causes a symptom can treat it. So a tiny amount of the oil from poison ivy (to make up an example) might cure itching. But the belief doesn't matter anyway, because the amount of dilution they use essentially guarantees that their potions are just water. They dilute their substances so much that - no kidding - there is on average less than one molecule of the substance per does. In other words, there's nothing in it. That doesn't stop them from selling their potions to whomever is willing to pay - including the British National Health service, regrettably. By the way, I'm using the word "potion" on purpose - this is really nothing more than witchcraft. But hey, some people believe in witchcraft too. It's just that the National Health Service doesn't pay for you to go to a witch for treatment.
Good luck, Prof. Born and colleagues! I hope you can educate your own public enough to stop the waste and fraud.

4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Homeopathy cures where Conventional Allopathic Medicine (CAM) works

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  3. Sorry, can't resist - "Dr" Nancy Malik above isn't a real doctor at all. She has a degree in homeopathy from a bogus homeopathy training program in India. So her comment is no surprise.

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  4. Regular full time medical training for a minimum period of 5 1/2 years (BHMS) is absolutely necessary for becoming qualified to practice homeopathy in India

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