Homeopathetic

By Phil Plait | July 3, 2009 12:00 pm

I can rant and rail against homeopathy, how it’s useless, how it’s nothing more than water, how there is no real methodology or mechanics behind it, how it’s been shown over and over not to have any efficacy over the placebo effect…

… but sometimes simple mockery is the best way to sway people’s hearts.

Tip o’ the 30C vial to Bruce hood at SuperSense.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Alt-Med, Antiscience, Humor
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Comments (78)

  1. JACK

    Blah, more of that psychic harbage!

  2. Nomen Publicus

    I was going to post a long rant … but less _is_ more.

  3. Saw this last night on the bbc iplayer, Mitchell and Webb is always good comedy and this sketch was a most certainly a highlight!

  4. Guysmiley

    Awesome. “Get me a bit of a Ford Mondeo!”

  5. Ryan

    I really hope those two were not planning on going back to work after drinking those homeopathic laggers.

  6. jest

    I enjoyed that…

  7. homeopaths

    This is homeopathy? really? I don’t think so…

  8. Keith

    Brilliant. M&W are great

  9. Excellent. I just hope that some of the deluded NHS administrators were watching at cringing appropriately. That’s one of the downsides of universal healthcare — taxpayer’s money going into treatments that don’t work if the administrators don’t think rationally. (BTW: I am a big fan of the NHS in almost all other cases — and wish we had a similar system in the US — but I do recognize that no system is perfect.)

  10. Thanks for the heads up Phil…. sad to say that one of the five NHS Homeopath Hospitals is round the corner from me in Bristol. I went up today but the doors were shut.. Clearly no A&E facility.
    Best
    Bruce

  11. pablo

    At least now I know the treatment for “vague sense of unease” or “more money than sense”.

  12. Brian

    One of the recent comments when I went to the youtube.com page was “Very funny! And it’s even funnier if you only watch one second a day over a five month period. ” I can’t even remember the last time I read a youtube comment that didn’t make me wince, much less laugh aloud. Clearly I’m in Bizarro-world today!

  13. baryogenesis

    Saw the link elsewhere…very clever. Shorter #13: “If this was my blog…”

  14. Tony S

    The same show also had a pareidolia sketch, where some atheists cut open a melon to discover the pips spelled out the words ‘there is no god’.

    Hurrah for sceptical comedy

  15. Ben

    [LMAO]

    Doten Cohen:

    “What does this have to do with astronomy? Quit being a dick.”

    Oh, sonny Doten, you are not with the BA program. See, the denizens here, while a fairly diverse bunch, pretty much all agree on one thing: Tauran fecal matter masquerading as reality is (a) fair game for mockery and more and (b) that’s a good deal of what we’re here for.

    So pull your big-boy undies up, and either try and stand up for whatever it is you think needs defending using, you know, radical stuff like objective facts, or go frequent a website that caters to your needs. I think they use 1/1,000,000th real commenters to bot-generated putzery on most of them. Surely they’ll choose you as that fraction, eh?

  16. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    That’s one of the downsides of universal healthcare — taxpayer’s money going into treatments that don’t work

    Yes, reputedly we have some of that in Sweden too – ‘alternative ‘medicine” can be bought in shops and even pharmacies AFAIU. (I haven’t really checked.)

    And of course it is a general trend. For instance EU promotes ‘ecological farming’ which is nothing but. The connection is that it allows for “biodynamic farming”, the antroposophic cult methods invented by known con man Steiner, which includes homeopathic methods. (Such as dilution of nutrients to homeopathic strengths with methods taken from the homeopathic con.)

    Besides suspicions from small tests that ‘ecological’ foods have lower quality from environmental stress (less vitamins et cetera, more foreign toxins) there is still the moral and practical problems that it is exclusionary expensive and globally unsustainable. IIRC the old Rom (?) report from the 70’s concluded that productivity from such farming is 50 – 70 % of modern methods.

    Apparently we have the politicians and the laws that we deserve. :-/

    being a dick

    DC, even if you wouldn’t be trolling, this is still you being a dick. Any blogger writes what he or she wants, not what you want.

    It is especially trolling/aggravating since PP is both a known skeptic and has written many times about his blogging preferences. Before you make a comment you could always take time to read up on the blog in question, so you can avoid being discourteous.

  17. I was actually admitted as an NHS in-patient to Glasgow’s Homeopathic Hospital. I was in need of minor surgery (I think the word “fissure” will give enough of a clue as to what it was!) and apparently that was where there was a spare bed at the time.

    Being a kid of about 10 years old (it was 35 years ago) I had no idea what homeopathy was and neither did my parents, I expect, but do not fret, for I wasn’t treated with diluted potions or aquamarine crystals or anything like that. My surgeon fixed me the boring, old fashioned way — using the surgical skills he learned at medical school.

    Still, I bet I’m the only regular reader of this blog to have actually spent time in a boda fide Homeopathic Hospital!

  18. Torbjörn, yeah, I think there will always be a certain amount of money being thrown away on things like this. The key is to keep the total amount down as low as possible. It’s galling to see such a waste of money happening, but it’s probably no worse than other types of wastages you see when systems get as large as this, and overall, universal healthcare is still far cheaper than the mess we have in America, while being just as effective (or more so in some cases, like France).

  19. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Sorry, I have a lot of browser trouble since testing FF 3.5; seems I can’t edit the previous comments preview.

    Anyway, wanted to add that I don’t know if current “biodynamic” practices includes the methods their dogmatic texts suggest. But it is the very practice of EU to not exclude bunkum that is the problem.

    Also, for DC: See Phil’s presentation (“a skeptic”).

  20. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    tacitus, you seem to have hit a reasonable (i.e. political) goal. I guess I have to settle for supporting minimization. (I could also blow off steam kvetching about “bounded rationality instead of consistent rationality”, but that seems in retrospect irrational. I can always ask the kids to get off my lawn instead.)

  21. gopher65

    Posting to test comment editing in FF3.5.

    (And that was a hilarious video, thanks for posting it.)

    EDIT: Well, I can’t speak for other operating systems, but FF3.5 for Windows can edit comments just fine. But the bugs are different for each operating system, so…

  22. 17. Torbjörn Larsson, OM Says:

    And of course it is a general trend. For instance EU promotes ‘ecological farming’ which is nothing but. The connection is that it allows for “biodynamic farming”, the antroposophic cult methods invented by known con man Steiner, which includes homeopathic methods.

    Brawndo? It has ‘electrolytes’!

    J/P=?

  23. TS

    I loved their Peep Show but I only ever saw one episode, wonder if it will become less funny if I watch more of them?

  24. Captain Swoop

    Last nights M & W show had a sketch set in a Homeopathic Pub. Pints of water with a drip of beer.

  25. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    @ gopher65:

    Thanks for the help, then it is my setup (Vista, btw) which is a mess. I added some new gadgets because the old addons weren’t functional with 3.5. It crashes a lot, which is a Firefox first for me. And there are OS interaction issues, another first. I like Vista, but perhaps FF developers doesn’t.

    @ JP:

    :-)!

  26. TS

    @ Captain Swoop:

    You didn’t watch the entire clip posted here, did you?

    😉

  27. Kieran Leach

    This episode was genius, and it’s worth noting that there are a couple of other quite good anti anti science sketches in it, including atheists discovering a melon which spell ‘there is no god’. Pure genius. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xfqht0LEOWQ

  28. quodlibet

    I don’t believe in it either. But then again, if there’s a placebo effect, it can’t be _totally_ useless…

  29. DC,

    On your rudeness.

    When you show up on someone else’s blog and make this kind of comment, it reflects more on you than on the blog author.

    Since this is a post on homeopathy (clearly labeled, so that you can avoid it if you are not interested), maybe we should assume that you are obsessing on your own homeopathic dimensions.

    I added my own post on this in Slightly More Than A Homeopathic Dose Of Ridicule.

  30. RoaldFalcon

    Hey, you can laugh at homeopathy all you want, but….

    um…

    well, really that’s all.

  31. JB

    LOL at “homeopathic lagers”. Maybe someone will open a pub that caters to homeopathic “doctors” only.

  32. I deleted the rude comment that was #13.

  33. Parents charged over child’s horrific death. Homeopathy “treatment” was used.
    http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1023071/latest-from-wire

  34. You deleted #13?

    Now it looks as if we were responding to a different comment. The blog is going to move from being a skeptical blog to an absurd blog.

    Bad Absurdity.

    I could work with that.

    I could change my pseudonym to Rogue Meursault.

    In stead of killing some stranger, I could just keep on going.

    Maybe I do not even notice this stranger.

    Was there even a stranger?

    Was the stranger just a homeopath – only a supremely diluted shadow of a real person?

    Did I choose to succuss the stranger with the gun, rather than shoot him?

    Is my mind playing tricks on me.

    Did I forget to take my homeopathic Aricept?

    What does it all mean?

  35. Flying sardines

    ROTFLMAO! THX BA. 😀

    @ 35 & 36 BA & Rogue Medic /Meursault : Hmm … Maybe when a post is deleted we could just leave it as a blank post or with replacement message saying “this post was deleted because it was rude / inappropriate / spam / whatever” & keep the number instead of bollixing up the numbering system and creating confusion for ppl?

  36. @31. quodlibet,

    ,i>I don’t believe in it either. But then again, if there’s a placebo effect, it can’t be _totally_ useless…

    Since nobody else has mentioned it, the short answer is What’s The Harm?

  37. Autumn

    Homeopathic lager?
    In the States we just call it Bud Light.

  38. 4Dtechnophobe

    Great skit. Too bad these guys aren’t carried on Canadian TV. But then, given the general level of science knowledge of the typical citizen, they might think it was a serious drama scene. keep up the good fight BA!

    I just came back from a rather unsuccessful fishing trip. Perhaps if I get my hands on some homeopathic bait…

  39. csrster

    A Homeopathic Hospital? Is that like just one grain of cement in a giant parking lot?

  40. bric

    David Mitchell also makes tiny weekly commentaries available on iTunes or here:

    http://www.channelflip.com/category/show/mitchell-show/

  41. I peed my pants watching this. Now I’ll have to wash them in a 50C dilution of urine.

  42. Gary Ansorge

    41. Mike Torr:
    50C solution of urine? Isn’t that what Space Station astronauts are drinking???

    Ah, sardonic, ironic, mockery,,,the stuff of legend. We need more of this, especially in the States,,,

    GAry 7

  43. TravisM
  44. 40. Autumn Says:
    Homeopathic lager?
    In the States we just call it Bud Light.

    I used to consider Coors as homeopathic… until they introduced (the redundant) Coors Light

    What about homeopathic water?

    J/P=?

  45. quodlibet

    @39. Rogue Medic: I know “What’s The Harm”, and I agree: People are harmed by abusing placebo medicine (excuse the unscientific term) out of ignorance and greed. But what about malpractice and harm being done by “western physicians”, out of the same reasons? For me, the difference is that orthodox medicine is based on science and scientific reasoning, while homeopathy is not, as it seems (and whenever somebody tries to justify it beyond the placebo effect, it is indeed only ridiculous). But I am pretty sure that many more poeple are harmed by not being skeptic enough towards orthodox diagnoses and treatment.

  46. Chris

    based on homeopathy’s own principles, it would probably work best if you didn’t use it at all!

  47. Excluded Layman

    Re: quodlibet
    “But then again, if there’s a placebo effect, it can’t be _totally_ useless…”

    Only insofar as believing a Nigerian noble is going to make you rich is useful at lifting one’s anxiety about money troubles.

    “But I am pretty sure that many more people are harmed by not being skeptic enough towards orthodox diagnoses and treatment.”

    That sounds fine on paper, but just how does one skeptically approach a subject they have no real understanding of? Apart from getting additional expert opinions, which relies on the qualifications and honesty of those experts, and as such is susceptible to exploitation by any confident assertion of expertise–the very reason CAM persists.

    Also, many more than what? Cancer patients? False positive cancer tests? Come to think of it, is there any formal process for addressing malpractice or incompetence in CAM?

  48. quodlibet

    Re: Excluded Layman
    Well, not quite: Nigerian Scam will _never_ make you rich, but the placebo effect will make some people feel better. Believing in the effect will actually cause the effect, as opposed to receiving the Nigerian wire transfer.
    You got a good point there: how to be skeptic regarding medical judgments in general? I don’t know. I guess intuition about the physicist is a reasonable way. If they rush me in and out within 20min, are quick with their diagnosis and don’t give me time to ask questions myself, so that I get the impression that the doctor is trying to cram in as many patients as possible, I don’t feel well treated. And apparently, homeopathic “doctors” usually seem to take more time and give their patients more attention. I am sure that – apart from the hopeless believers in witchcraft – many homeopathic patients turned away from orthodox medicine for these reasons.

  49. Nick R

    @TS:
    > I loved their Peep Show but I only ever saw one episode, wonder if it will become less funny if I watch more of them?

    I can assure you that Peep Show never becomes less funny. It’s consistently been one of the best TV comedies of the last few years.

    And I’ve loved this series of That Mitchell and Webb Look so far, despite the absence of Olivia Colman and Paterson Joseph. :(

  50. Jack Clark

    Umm.. sort of related I suspect. The Australian Broadcasting Commission’s current affairs program Lateline featured an interview with Dr Simon Singh tonight. The link to the program’s website is http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/

    It’s in there under Latest Program, or will be at least. Give it 24 hours or so and it should be up.

    Just thought that you’d like to know.

    Jack

  51. Absentereo

    First off… I’m not a homeopath. Haven’t even used it haven’t had much experience with it. I’m a health psychologist with a strong basis in research methodology. I’m the guy they ask to figure out if some intervention works or not. Or if a test is valid and reliable or not. Of course my field is psychology. I’d wager though that the overlap between psychology and medicine is smaller than Astronomy and medicine..

    The recipe to make homeopathic medicine is clearly defined, we just don’t know why it would work. This means that mechanics are not understood although there are some theories and ideas… But this isn’t new. We did not know how aspirin worked for the longest time. The effect of psychological interventions was also doubted (and ridiculed) by the medical profession for the longest time. It was considered pseudoscience much like you people are considering homeopathy pseudoscience now. Still there can be no doubt about the effects of psychology today.

    If I look at the literature (and I have) it seems that for every homeopathic study where the effect has not been shown, there is a study where the effect is in fact shown. And yes, of course placebo effects were taken into account in many of them.

    The bottom line in my opinion becomes an argument about who do you trust. What do you “believe”. Not so much a matter of science. Eventually I just said: “Sod it, efficacy unknown”.

    The rule is that if we make a statement or accusation it’s us that are required to back up our statements. The statement “Homeopathic medicine has not been shown to have an effect” is false, there are clearly studies showing an effect. Even top notch double blind research. We may argue the validity of these studies. But their existence is indisputable.

    If you retort that there are also studies that show no effect. Then anti depressants are most certainly pseudo science. Because there are in fact many many studies that show anti depressants to have no effects on the average depression! Still, anti depressants are accepted (and popular) medicine and given for everything ranging from full blown depression to fear symptoms and even occasionally to reduce psychotic symptoms.

    Stating that homeopathy cannot work because the mechanism is unknown is arguing out of ignorance. The fact that I don’t know how a cpu works does not mean cpus don’t work.

    Don’t get me wrong. As I started this message, I stated clearly that I have very little personal experience with the stuff. I couldn’t even judge if it subjectively seems to work from my personal experience. And the only reason I care is because it seems to come up so often.

    I’m in it from a purely scientific methodological point of view. My question to you guys is: Why so certain? What takes you guys beyond doubt into an area where you feel free to even ridicule the opposition? I’d love to have your certainty, but I cannot be as certain as you guys In spite of (or maybe because of) a very solid methodological background. Many many arguments I’ve read against homeopathy like the “We don’t know HOW it works” argument are just fallacies…

    My conclusion is that the research is ambiguous. And no side has a very clear methodological upper hand. The logical conclusion from this is not that homeopathy works or does not work. The logical conclusion in my opinion is that we do not know. I can seriously understand the desire to reject it as useless. I personally dislike the “unknown mechanism”. But we have to resist the urge to reject a possibly existing mechanism just because we do not understand it. Rejecting something without proper methodological basis should be considered pseudo skepticism. Psychology and aspirin suffered the same effects and we were wrong back then.

    Mr. Astronomer. Can you state clearly what reasons you have to discredit homeopathy? And do so in a scientifically valid manner? I’d prefer references to actual research over “they say” arguments… Also I’d like to stay away from “It doesn’t work because we don’t understand how it would work if it works” arguments… For the obvious reasons…

    I just want to know why this is more than a personal opinion… I am inclined to think this is personal opinion. But it would be unscientific of me not to be open to to evidence to the contrary. Please inform me.

  52. Geek

    Absentereo @55: “Also I’d like to stay away from “It doesn’t work because we don’t understand how it would work if it works””
    Good for you. I wouldn’t like that argument either. How about this one: it doesn’t work because the ingredients have been completely washed away.

  53. JT

    “My conclusion is that the research is ambiguous. ”

    Your conclusion is based on ignorance and a fair degree of prejudice. I’m sorry, but there’s just no other way to state that.

    You come here lecturing us about how we reject it because we don’t understand it, when even a casual inspection of this site would show you that we reject it because it has been proven in study after study after study to have no effect whatsoever.

    Those “studies” which show it to have a statistically significant effect have been quite thoroughly debunked here and elsewhere, mostly due to inadequate controls. All followups done with adequate controls caused the effects to disappear.

    I would advise you in the future to have a more open mind when it comes to such things as homeopathy, rather than automatically jumping to the conclusion that it is valid and that everyone who rejects it does so out of (projected) ignorance.

    EDIT: Just to clarify, I’m not railing at you lack of informedness (It’s unreasonable to expect anyone to be educated on every possible topic), but rather the extreme prejudice and closed-mindedness that is displayed by your coming here and telling US why WE think the way we do, in complete contradiction to everything we have actually said. It’s as though the possibility that we might have good reasons for thinking as we do never even crossed your mind.

  54. Did you hear the one about the homeopath who drank a glass of distilled water and died of an overdose of EVERYTHING?

  55. Last Hussar

    Absentereo is correct- just because we do not understand how something works doesn’t mean it doesn’t. Let’s face it- it was only in the last couple of hundred years we understood electricity, but it definately worked before then.

    Homeopathy, on the other hand, has been subjected to extensive double blind tests as used for all medicines, and we can SEE it doesn’t work. (And the Homeopathic lager idea was mine first- a few years ago I threatened to take homeopathic wine to my crystal-powered sister-in-law).

  56. Absentereo

    @JT,
    I was academically trained to analyze this type of research and I have done it on a regular basis since.. What are your credentials? No offense, but I’m neither lecturing you nor uninformed. If you read my message again, correctly this time, you will see me asking for your opinion. I can’t make the jump you make and I explain why. But if you help me maybe I can. I’m not infallible, please show me my errors. I’m looking at the same data, I’m qualified to check the results. What am I missing?

    It’s fine if you say that these studies have been debunked. But I’ve seen debunking studies being debunked only to be rebunked after that. That’s just getting personal with very little added scientific value behind it.

    Also, what’s the deal with the emotional response dude? Were you attacked by a gang of raving homeopaths as a child? :) I am not close minded. I see and admit the possibility of my mistakes. And come here asking for the missing piece. You however see me as a closed minded git who comes here to lecture you without any credentials or knowledge on the subject. Each of those things you see in me was created in your mind and has little to do with me. And then to top it off you call me close minded, the ultimate example of projection.

    Look I’m very sorry if I fail to fold in and march properly like the rest of you sirs who figured out the truth eons before I did. But I’m not the type of guy to just believe something because others get emotional if I don’t…

    @Geek
    So the ingredients were washed away. I guess we can rule out chemical interaction then, can we? :) Nobody ever claimed it works through chemical interaction. Why would you think this assertion makes any difference? A statistical study on the effect of a medicine does not measure chemical interactions, it measures effects. I can’t explain how those effects get there. Statistics usually does not do that. But denying them because they don’t seem to make sense doesn’t help either.

    @Last Hussar
    Thank you for the partial agreement. I have seen homeopathic double blind tests that actually do show significant results. Do we live in different worlds? Or does this mean both experimental results apparently exist…

    And if conflicting results do apparently exist. And they are in various positions in the infinite bunk/debunk/rebunk chains. How do we determine the truth in it?

    I can’t… You apparently can… Show me…

    There are scientifically valid experiments out there that show the effect of homeopathic medicine. These tests lie between amateurism and quite advanced. I have seen double blind tests. I’ve looked for those first of course. The same goes for the other team. And both sides pretend it’s clear as glass. Show me.. How do you see the difference? Even the meta analysis seem unable to be properly convincing. So again, how do you see the difference?

    The homeopathic beverage is a good one though whoever thought of it first :)

  57. lahdahdah

    Absentereo: which studies in particular are you looking at?

  58. Geek

    Absentereo @60: “I guess we can rule out chemical interaction then, can we?”
    If you wash away all of the ingredients, you can rule out all interaction, because you’re not taking the medicine: you’re taking the placebo.

    “A statistical study on the effect of a medicine does not measure chemical interactions, it measures effects.”
    Yes, but it measures the effects compared to a control sample that takes a placebo. Homeopathic “remedies” are placebos. If a study compares one placebo with another and seems to show efficacy of one of them relative to the other, it is either a fluke or the result of a flaw in the study.

  59. Absentereo

    @Geek #62
    “If you wash away all of the ingredients, you can rule out all interaction, because you’re not taking the medicine: you’re taking the placebo.”
    Basically what you’re saying now is that there are only two effects possible in this situation, placebo or chemical… You’re implicitly excluding an unknown.

    There is a multitude of known effects already that are neither chemical or placebo but still affect health. Mechanical, electrical, temperature, radiation, even vibration have clearly been demonstrated (often by weaponry) to have potentially significant health effects.

    Some of these effects were unknown in the past. Marie Curie actually died of Leukemia… Caused by a radio active effect on health that was previously unknown. How could they possibly know about mutation caused by radio activity before DNA was even discovered and before they knew exactly what radio activity was?

    This was only last century!!! How old are you? Old enough to remember the “Atomic energy lab” science kit for kids? (google it & laugh)

    You cannot logically claim that there are no unknown influences on health today yet you claim exactly this by stating that it’s one or the other, no room for an unknown. You do this in contradiction to repeated and statistically solid evidence that there is another facet to the story. Not just one or two aberrant experiments, but bucket loads of them.

    I restate my question… Why are you so certain that some unknown effect does not exist?

  60. Geek

    “Basically what you’re saying now is that there are only two effects possible in this situation, placebo or chemical… You’re implicitly excluding an unknown.

    Why are you so certain that some unknown effect does not exist?”

    No, I’m saying that if you wash all of your medicine away, and swallow some water instead, it won’t affect you other than via the placebo effect. There’s no need to know, or make assumptions, about all the mechanisms, known or unknown, that could be involved if you took the medicine, because you aren’t taking it. Unless you worked in the homeopathy preparation lab, you wouldn’t even have come close to it.

    With respect, your “repeated and statistically solid evidence” assertion is something I don’t believe. If you have the time, look at http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=556 which discusses investigations into the sources of pro-homeopathy research. For speed, search that article for “Randi” and “Betz”.

  61. JT

    @Absentereo

    “Look I’m very sorry if I fail to fold in and march properly like the rest of you sirs who figured out the truth eons before I did. But I’m not the type of guy to just believe something because others get emotional if I don’t…”

    Look, it would help if you actually read what I said. I don’t care that you don’t have the same opinion re:homeopathy as the majority here. I care that you came here throwing out accusations.

    To put it bluntly it’s obvious when someone argues to seek information and it’s obvious when someone argues to demonize the opponent, you are the latter. Had you actually been seeking information, you would have asked us why we rejected homeopathy, instead you TOLD us why. If by some outside chance you actually are seeking information, you would do well in the future not to lie about your opponent’s motives to his face.

    “Also, what’s the deal with the emotional response dude? Were you attacked by a gang of raving homeopaths as a child?”

    You joke, but people really do die because of homeopaths.

  62. Geek

    Please remove this post. It was a duplicate of post 64 (still awaiting moderation) – sorry.

  63. Absentereo

    @Geek #64 Thank you for the article, I’ve read it top to bottom, I also encountered Benveniste before. A few years ago apparently I’ve read the Randi/Benveniste encounter. To be strict, Benveniste wasn’t a homeopath he did not actually believe his own research at first either. The discrediting of his research does not mean homeopathic research was discredited since it was technically on another but related subject, water memory. That doesn’t matter much since there’s enough other research that does discredit homeopathy. If not this one then the next right? You don’t need to look it up for me. I have done this myself. There is loads of research failing to show positive effects. Every bit of evidence you add to that is just more drops in a bucket.

    My point is, again, there’s also abundant research indicating that homeopathy has an effect. Here’s an example.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17180695
    The Related articles section on this page shows two more similar articles.

    I stated I have no claims in Homeopathy, I never used it myself. This is just intellectual interest. I tried to figure out from the research what was true. Quite frankly I can’t… In my opinion it’s not as clear cut as people here would like to suggest. Then Mr Plait speaks about it and I see my chance to test my thoughts.

    The argument that it is implausible for infinitesimal amounts of a chemical to have effects on an organism is true. The argument that there is no evidence to the contrary is false. Such a controversial topic must also alert us to the potential presence of all kinds of basses. This is why it’s not trivial to discern the underlying truth in this matter. It certainly is why I failed to come to a clear opinion.

    Maybe it would help if teams with mixed opinions about homeopathy did some research. You’d have both the demand for extremely rigorous protocol and the demand for correct usage of homeopathic treatment.

    @JT #65 Please show where I demonized anyone. What you think you see in me is your choice I think. I apparently have little to do with it. What I’ve stated is clear. It’s right there for everyone to read. I built up an argument and from this intellectual opinion you rightly conclude that I disagree with you. You wrongly conclude that I am demonizing someone.

    I ended my post with “I just want to know why this is more than a personal opinion… I am inclined to think this is personal opinion. But it would be unscientific of me not to be open to to evidence to the contrary. Please inform me.” You ended your response with “It’s as though the possibility that we might have good reasons for thinking as we do never even crossed your mind.”

    Why exactly did you think I asked for your reasons? I’m not the guy you have issues with here. Please reread my words and lets drop this bickering. I know there are a-holes out there that probably occasionally drop in to verbally attack everyone in sight. I’m not one of them and I promise to be polite and respectful for the duration of my stay.

  64. Geek

    @Absentereo #67
    Thanks for the link – I followed it and read the abstract. OK, so there’s some evidence.

    As someone involved in testing methodology, you will be aware that there are plenty of subtle mistakes that can cause false results. Human error and/or fluke would make, to my mind, a vastly, vastly more plausible explanation of positive results than effectiveness of homeopathy.

    As Carl Sagan said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof”, so I’d have to see a preponderance of exceptionally rigorous results, with widespread verification, to knock my confidence in the ineffectiveness of homeopathy. I admit I’m also thinking “it’s not going to happen”. If that’s being closed-minded, I would suggest that the alternative would be, as Richard Dawkins put it, so open-minded that one’s brains would fall out.

  65. Absentereo

    Absolutely Geek.

    You’re one hundred percent correct. (Pun intended) A significant result doesn’t actually mean the experiment is valid. Not even three of them implies this. Only careful peer preview can do this. So I still don’t know if homeopathy works or doesn’t work.

    “Extraordinary proof” is in itself a rather subjective statement. First of all as you probably know empirical science doesn’t deal in proof. And secondly, what is extraordinary? I consider a significance p=0.0001 extraordinary. But in this case highly significant results did nothing to convince us, because of questions of validity.

    I think it’s important though to ask ourselves the question when do we accept something? According to scientific thought unless a number of experts cannot point out the errors in an article or experiment we must assume that it’s outcome is correct. We cannot just do this on gut feeling we need rules to accept or reject experiments. Otherwise we’d just side step the whole elaborate scientific method by cherry picking the results we like.

    Incidentally this type of bias exists all over the place.

    It was a pleasure, thank you for your insightful comments and objections.

  66. Geek

    Absentereo,

    “p<0.0001" caught my eye too. I found it a staggering claim, but I agree with your points about accepting results.

    Thank you for your thoughtful replies, I've enjoyed our discussion.

  67. @49. quodlibet,

    But I am pretty sure that many more poeple are harmed by not being skeptic enough towards orthodox diagnoses and treatment.

    The differences are 3:

    1. Placebos also have side effects. This is called the nocebo effect. And that is assuming that the treatment is completely inert. If the treatment actually does something, it might be much more harmful.

    2. The patients receiving evidence based medicine are receiving far more benefit than any harm they may receive. That is demonstrated by the research. That is what is provided by a better than placebo treatment. Better than placebo, even after any side effects.

    3. Placebo treatments discourage patients from receiving real treatment. Daniel Hauser would be a dead boy by the end of the year, if he were to receive placebo treatment. In stead he is receiving chemotherapy. Chemotherapy has a lot of side effects, but for this pediatric cancer an over 90% survival rate. Placebos do not save lives, they just help you to feel you are in control, while you die.

  68. @Absentereo,

    You mention anti-depressants. I am not familiar with the research. I read Toxic Psychiatry and it made many good points. When it comes to ECT (ElectroConvulsive Therapy), I will never accept that frying my brain, while I am still using it, is beneficial. I see this as something that is effective only if you ignore a lot of side effects and suicide is the alternative.

    But when you extrapolate from medicine not understanding psychology to homeopathy, you are dealing with apples and oranges. You have brain function (neurology), that we do not understand, even now. Then you have mind function (psychology), which may be just a function of neurology, but we do not know. We prefer to think that we control our actions, but there is research that suggests otherwise. That may sound bad for psychology, but you will always have plenty of business. No need to have some Vogons blow up Earth. 😉

    Yes. Doctors are notorious for refusing to accept abundant evidence that something works, or evidence that something doesn’t work. So, it is easy to pull those examples out. The scientific method has demonstrated effectiveness in the mean time.

    Today, medicine is much more science based. Since 1941, there is the ability to completely cure a disease. Many of the people in medicine before then have had trouble understanding the kind of change that was. Penicillin was so good, it made all of the rest of the medicine cabinet look bad. This was actually a good thing.

    Today, you will find that many more doctors are familiar with the scientific method and demand evidence of effectiveness before using treatments on their patients.

    Homeopathy? Not so much. Here is the story of the How Dr. Hahnemann Stole Medicine!

    Then he got an idea. An awful idea. Dr. Hahnemann got a wonderful, awful idea! “I know just what to do!”

    At the time (late 1700s) medicine was not curing people. Any old wacky idea was as good as any other. As long as you did not give patients too much of a poison, they might get better in spite of you. Conventional medicine has changed tremendously since then. Homeopathy stays the same. That wonderful, awful idea? Like cures like. Dr. Hahnemann found that this worked in a few cases, but he extrapolated from those cases to everything.

    So, consider the theory behind this, that which does not kill the patient makes the patient stronger, but by diluting it, there is much less chance of the patient dropping dead – at least much less chance of them dropping dead from the homeopathy. That is the idea. Add some succussions and dilute until pure water or some concentration of alcohol.

    Modern homeopathy has no more understanding of why they think it works than that 200 year old idea.

    We did not know how aspirin worked for the longest time.

    But we did know that there was an effect. Knowing there is an effect and understanding the basis for the effect are entirely different. You can see that aspirin has many effects. These effects are measurable. These effects are repeatable. Consistently.

    According to scientific thought unless a number of experts cannot point out the errors in an article or experiment we must assume that it’s outcome is correct.

    No.

    We have studies that can only be reproduced now and then.

    We do not need to know what the problem is, only that there is something very odd about such widely divergent results. It suggests that we are not testing what we think we are testing.

    I assume you have done some teaching and are familiar with testing students. If a student is taking multiple choice tests, and these studies are analogous to multiple choice tests, what do you conclude about the knowledge of the student when the results are all over the place?

    Maybe he/she has MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder). Not likely, since the occurrence of MPD is probably much higher in fiction or in theories, than it is in real people.

    Maybe something was affecting the testing conditions. He/she may be very distractible. Special testing situations may be needed to allow the student to demonstrate knowledge of the material. However, this may be a subject that cannot be practiced in a fortress of solitude. If the testing conditions are not realistic for the use of what is being tested, you have someone who is only good at taking tests with such tight controls that there may be no real world application of that knowledge.

    In the real world, when you administer a test, if the person taking the test produces widely different results, that are sometimes great and sometimes horrible, do you draw any conclusions about the knowledge of the student?

    What about some sort of target shooting? I will use darts for this example. What if the person occasionally throws a bunch of darts in higher scoring parts of the dart board, but also has bunches that don’t even hit the dart board?

    Would you use the term ambiguous?

    If these were shots with a crossbow, and some look good, while others seem to exhibit more amusement value, than talent. Would you allow this person to try to shoot an arrow off of your head? While the analogy to medicine is strained on this one, I am trying to get you to just look at this from several different angles.

    Then there is an excellent book Fiction and Fantasy in Medical Research. The Large-Scale Randomised Trial by James Penston (2003, The London Press, London England. ISBN: 0-9544636-1-7). If you haven’t read it, I recommend it. Only 144 pages, so not even a long book. He spends the first part of the book on cause and effect and how philosophers have approached cause and effect, so that part should be a review.

    The big part is his conclusion. If we need huge studies to show any effect, are we measuring what we think we are measuring and is it an effect that is worth paying any attention to. That is oversimplified, but I am trying to reduce it to a haiku.

    There is a ridiculously remote chance that there is a good reason for homeopathy to completely fail so many studies, but somehow still work.

    There is a ridiculously remote chance that the theory of homeopathy coincided with some completely unknown method, that is still completely unknown, but somehow still works.

    Then there is the part that really is confusing. If it does work, what does it work on? How do we know?

    I can find out what is likely to be effective with conventional medicine. I can find out medicine’s success rate. I can find out the conditions it has been used to treat. I can find out the side effects. I can have a very good idea of what to expect. For a patient, a doctor can point all of that out to the patient.

    Homeopathy? Not so much.

    It couldn’t hurt is often used as a reason to try it, but if it does have an effect and we don’t know what the effect is, how do we know that it couldn’t hurt?

  69. Absentereo

    @RogueMedic #72
    I’m sorry I find it hard to discover the points you’re trying to make in your comment. And you mention a few things that are just wrong.

    Electroconvulsive shock therapies are brutal this is true, though not as bad as one would naively expect. You basically only use it under the conditions you stated. In other words as a life saving intervention. You don’t just put a man under a heart defibrillator either, unless the situation is acute. In which case they are also the best methods we have. So apart from my failure to understand the relevance, you’re basically stating the obvious here.

    You also state: “There is a ridiculously remote chance that there is a good reason for homeopathy to completely fail so many studies, but somehow still work.” This is not true. A failed experiment fails to pick up an effect, it’s like looking at the sky through binoculars. You’ll fail to see mars if you look randomly. You’ll usually fail to see mars if you don’t know exactly where to look. And you should be able to see mars regularly if you know where to find it. Now replace mars with Deimos and keep the binoculars. I think it’d be virtually impossible to look at the right spot in the sky, and see Deimos. If you repeat that experiment a million times.. Predictably and reliably fail to see Deimos. And then conclude Deimos does not exist, you’d be wrong.

    The opposite, that if you see Deimos the chance of it not actually being there, is much much smaller.

    The experiments are designed to guard against false positives. We only add positive statements to our understanding of the world. And reject outcomes if they fail our demands for reliability. We don’t add negative statements. Because: while it only requires a valid demonstration to show a positive, it is virtually impossible to show a negative.

    So if an experiment fails to show an effect. It does not serve as evidence that the effect is absent. Now this might sound like picking side with the homeopathy guys. But I’m not, this is how we do science. And you’d learn this stuff on methodology 101 of most educations that use statistics. This is not negotiable as far as I am concerned.

    It’s like I said before, if you measure with a significance of for example p<0.05. You don't need every other experiment to succeed. If a one in 20 chance occurs once every 10 trials. And you do sufficient and valid experiments. Then there is a clear and demonstrated effect that no statistician would argue with. So here is a clear situation where even failing to show an effect in most studies we'd still be required to accept the reality of the measured effect in the long run.

    "I can find out what is likely to be effective with conventional medicine. I can find out medicine’s success rate. I can find out the conditions it has been used to treat. I can find out the side effects. I can have a very good idea of what to expect. For a patient, a doctor can point all of that out to the patient."
    Replace medicine with homeopathic treatment, and doctor with homeopath and the sentence is as true as before, in spite of your claims of the opposite.. They don't know how it works. But the success rate is measurable. The conditions it's supposed to treat are known. The side effects if any are known. People do know what to expect and the homeopath can explain this to the client.

    We're not talking about all that though, we're talking about efficacy and the state of related experiments, not protocol in the doctors office.

    I said "According to scientific thought unless a number of experts cannot point out the errors in an article or experiment we must assume that it’s outcome is correct." You said "No. We have studies that can only be reproduced now and then. "

    Please note that you're not contradicting me even if you think you are. I speak of validity and you speak of reliability. These are two very different subjects. Validity can be interpreted as an experiments ability to show an effect if it exists. Reliability means the experiment can be relied upon to do it again if it is repeated.

    An analogy would be a volt meter. It has an error margin which is it's reliability. And doing a valid measurement of the voltage in your wall socket implies measuring the wall socket. An invalid reading would be measuring your neighbors wall socket. Even if the results seem to agree and are probably correct the experiment is still not valid.

    A reliable experiment that shows effect but that is not valid could be similarly measuring the wrong signals. A valid experiment could fail to pick up an effect that is too weak. Reliability of an experiment can be measured by repeating it. Validity can only be ascertained by careful analysis by experts. If experts can find no fault this does not necessarily mean the experiment is valid. But as far as we can tell at that point it IS valid. We cannot determine validity on gut feeling or by repeating an experiment. We need peer previews for that. People trained in methodology who are able to point out potential flaws or trouble.

  70. @RogueMedic #72

    I’m sorry I find it hard to discover the points you’re trying to make in your comment. And you mention a few things that are just wrong.

    Electroconvulsive shock therapies are brutal this is true, though not as bad as one would naively expect. You basically only use it under the conditions you stated. In other words as a life saving intervention. You don’t just put a man under a heart defibrillator either, unless the situation is acute. In which case they are also the best methods we have.

    Actually routine cardioversion is commonly used as an outpatient procedure. It is the same defibrillator, the difference is that the shock is timed to land on the QRS complex, rather than be delivered randomly.

    So apart from my failure to understand the relevance, you’re basically stating the obvious here.

    You also state: “There is a ridiculously remote chance that there is a good reason for homeopathy to completely fail so many studies, but somehow still work.” This is not true. A failed experiment fails to pick up an effect, it’s like looking at the sky through binoculars. You’ll fail to see mars if you look randomly. You’ll usually fail to see mars if you don’t know exactly where to look. And you should be able to see mars regularly if you know where to find it. Now replace mars with Deimos and keep the binoculars. I think it’d be virtually impossible to look at the right spot in the sky, and see Deimos. If you repeat that experiment a million times.. Predictably and reliably fail to see Deimos. And then conclude Deimos does not exist, you’d be wrong.

    When it comes to medical treatment, if we cannot find a difference between our study treatment and placebo on a consistent basis, we should conclude that whatever effect might be there is so insignificant that it is not any better than an inert substance, which pretty much defines distilled water as a treatment.

    The opposite, that if you see Deimos the chance of it not actually being there, is much much smaller.

    I am aware of that. If only they could show that the homeopathic Deimos is there. So far it seems to be less significant than Oakland – no there there. And there really isn’t any reason to expect that to change.

    The experiments are designed to guard against false positives. We only add positive statements to our understanding of the world. And reject outcomes if they fail our demands for reliability. We don’t add negative statements. Because: while it only requires a valid demonstration to show a positive, it is virtually impossible to show a negative.

    The inability to find an improved outcome is something that would encourage a scientist, interested in finding effective treatments, to move on to something that can produce positive results. Homeopathy does not encourage any optimism.

    In medicine, which homeopathy claims to be, the burden of proof is on those proposing that they have an effective treatment.

    Homeopathy needs to show a benefit to patients or go away.

    It is long past time for homeopathy to go away.

    So if an experiment fails to show an effect. It does not serve as evidence that the effect is absent.

    Now you are the one stating the obvious. Maybe you should read the book by Dr. Penston. While he is critical of the waste and misuse of science by the drug companies, his criticism is just as valid for homeopathy. We need to have some effect to justify continuing to subject patients to these treatments.

    It is the responsibility of the drug pusher to show that the treatment is effective.

    In the absence of evidence of benefit, it is wrong to continue to subject patients to these experimental treatments.

    Now this might sound like picking side with the homeopathy guys. But I’m not, this is how we do science. And you’d learn this stuff on methodology 101 of most educations that use statistics. This is not negotiable as far as I am concerned.
    It’s like I said before, if you measure with a significance of for example p<0.05. You don’t need every other experiment to succeed. If a one in 20 chance occurs once every 10 trials. And you do sufficient and valid experiments. Then there is a clear and demonstrated effect that no statistician would argue with. So here is a clear situation where even failing to show an effect in most studies we’d still be required to accept the reality of the measured effect in the long run.

    An effect that is so insignificant, that it is only occasionally there, is not worth it for the patient. Such unpredictable results suggest that something else is going on. Until there is a consistent effect, we need to protect patients. The burden of proof in medicine is on the one proposing the treatment. Homeopathy does not meet that standard.

    “I can find out what is likely to be effective with conventional medicine. I can find out medicine’s success rate. I can find out the conditions it has been used to treat. I can find out the side effects. I can have a very good idea of what to expect. For a patient, a doctor can point all of that out to the patient.”

    Replace medicine with homeopathic treatment, and doctor with homeopath and the sentence is as true as before, in spite of your claims of the opposite.. They don’t know how it works. But the success rate is measurable. The conditions it’s supposed to treat are known. The side effects if any are known. People do know what to expect and the homeopath can explain this to the client.

    Please provide some reproduceable studies that show a positive effect in treating patients.

    We’re not talking about all that though, we’re talking about efficacy and the state of related experiments, not protocol in the doctors office.

    If it is going to be used on patients we need to be able to show that is likely that the treatment is causing patients to get better. In the absence of that, it is just another unproven experimental treatment.

    I said “According to scientific thought unless a number of experts cannot point out the errors in an article or experiment we must assume that it’s outcome is correct.” You said “No. We have studies that can only be reproduced now and then. ”

    Please note that you’re not contradicting me even if you think you are. I speak of validity and you speak of reliability. These are two very different subjects. Validity can be interpreted as an experiments ability to show an effect if it exists. Reliability means the experiment can be relied upon to do it again if it is repeated.

    Do we really want to treat patients with treatments based on valid, but unreliable research?

    Again, in medicine, the burden is on the person selling the treatment to show that it works.

    Homeopathy fails.

    An analogy would be a volt meter. It has an error margin which is it’s reliability. And doing a valid measurement of the voltage in your wall socket implies measuring the wall socket. An invalid reading would be measuring your neighbors wall socket. Even if the results seem to agree and are probably correct the experiment is still not valid.

    A reliable experiment that shows effect but that is not valid could be similarly measuring the wrong signals. A valid experiment could fail to pick up an effect that is too weak. Reliability of an experiment can be measured by repeating it. Validity can only be ascertained by careful analysis by experts. If experts can find no fault this does not necessarily mean the experiment is valid. But as far as we can tell at that point it IS valid. We cannot determine validity on gut feeling or by repeating an experiment. We need peer previews for that. People trained in methodology who are able to point out potential flaws or trouble.

    If we were just playing around with wall current, we could keep going on indefinitely with only opportunity loss. This is supposed to be a medical treatment. When we cannot produce a repeatable benefit, we need to stop subjecting patients to this mistreatment.

    When there is repeatable evidence of a benefit to patients, then it will be worth paying some attention to homeopathy, which is just another failed experimental treatment.

    Until then homeopathy is only useful as a punchline, and a very good punchline. :-)

  71. Absentereo

    @Rogue medic #75

    You’re mostly repeating the request for evidence. Please turn your attention to my comment #67 I provided a link to an article there answering your exact question. With the added bonus that they are double-blind, highly significant, and taking the placebo effect into account! As I said in that message there are 2 links on that page to two other experiments just like it. The one I linked to has a significance of p<0.0001. Even you must grant that that is significant.

    As I told Geek, this does not mean the experiments are valid. And we must certainly not just accept homeopathy for a fact just on the basis of this. The point is that they serve as evidence. So the statement that there is no evidence is false… And that is the point I am making. Not that homeopathy works. Because I'm not convinced myself. I just see a valid case for homeopathy in statistical terms. I want to see more credible ideas on mechanism. But statistically speaking they have a case.

    You say that an effect measured with p<0.05 that is only reproducible a 10th of the time is not significant. First of all, it's not the effect that has significance. It's the result of the experiment that has significance. And I'm sorry but p<0.05 is considered highly significant. Mind you the experiment I linked to has a significance of p<0.0001 which is a few orders of magnitude better…

    The fact that it is not reproducible all the time is not an issue. I remind you of particle physics where literally up to thousands or even millions of collisions need to be caused and recorded in the hope of finding some rare interaction or particle. The statistics clearly allow for this. I also gave a binocular example that basically already answered this point.

    It is important to note that in the example I gave I said you have to do a sufficient amount of valid experiments. So it's not just the first batch of 10 with one hit after which you quit.

    This is not an advanced topic. Significance validity and reliability are core concepts of statistics. I don't know your background and I don't mean to offend I just want to avoid getting hung up on words. If you're unsure on these concepts look them up, without knowing their meaning the whole discussion is going to be mighty confusing. In daily life we tend to mix up reliability and validity quite a bit. And you seemed to do that once before. Significance in life also doesn't relate well to the mathematical meaning of significance in statistics.

    Like I said before its true that there is no convincing mechanism we can use to explain this. However, we cannot deny that there is statistical evidence that such a mechanism could exist.

    A question though, you clearly know how to quote.. Could you spend a few sentences on teaching this noob the trick?

  72. emote_control

    @Absentereo

    I think that the key concept here is repeatability. You can quote one article with a very high p-value, but we do not know whether that demonstrates an actual effect, or an undiagnosed error on the part of the researchers. The plausible explanation, in the absence of any sound theoretical basis for why we should expect homeopathy to work at all, given that the entire body of scientific theory predicts that it should not, and in the absence of a well-grounded body of evidence that supports the homeopathic hypothesis, is that someone buggered up the study.

    To hijack your example, scientific tests of homeopathy may be mistaking a dust mote on the lens for Daimos.

    We can test this by running the study multiple times in multiple labs with multiple safeguards against error. Once we have an appropriate body of positive studies that collectively eliminate the chance that the effect is due to methodology, we can entertain the possibility of accepting an hypothesis that would contradict what we know about physics, biology, and chemistry (and contradicts itself, what with the ocean of unregulated homeopathic preparations a person must be drinking each time they lift a glass of water, but which somehow have no effect). However, there are reasons not to bother. First is the general implausibility of the hypothesis. We would be better off performing research that is based on theories which are known to obtain results.

    Second, the research to date is mostly negative. The chances that these few positive results are evidence of an enormous effect that we have somehow merely overlooked are very slim. Rather, it is more likely that we will discover that the odd ones out are the ones in error, not the majority. Reviews have found that there is a correlation between the quality of the methodology used in a homeopathic study and the chance of a negative result. We would expect to see the opposite if there were really an effect.

    Third, even if there is some kind of effect, we might note that since it is apparently so hard to find even under controlled conditions, the chance that it is biologically relevant is probably null. If clinical laboratories cannot reliably squeeze the blood of significant results from the stone of homeopathic treatment, what hope does the homeopathic practitioner have of effecting an improvement–much less a cure–in a patient?

  73. Absentereo

    @emote_control
    Regarding your first point, you are correct and I have indicated this in the past. However, you must remember that my argument was against the suggestion that there is absolutely no evidence that homeopathy works.. There is and I have shown it. Everyone who is half an academic could verify this.

    Regarding your second point, the fact that most research does not show an effect means very little when the research that does has such incredibly strong results. Science is not a democracy where the experiments get to vote equally. Some votes count stronger than others. I refer you to the methodology of science if this confuses you. But you can see the same effect (as I mentioned before) in the cern experiments where thousands if not millions of particles are shot at each other. Most of these experiments are failures that’s why they built an enormous computer system to wade through the research and find experiments that did show something. Claiming that the few collisions don’t mean anything because there are many more misses is not correct.

    Regarding your third point, in the experiments I referenced to almost all homeopathically treated individuals experienced sharp improvements compared to the control group. That would indicate that at least in some situations it’s a highly effective medicine.

    I have stated these three points before. I have added nothing new to this comment.

    Let me make it clear again that I’m not saying homeopathy works. I have no personal investments in it, I never used it and don’t have personal experiences with it. I just get a bit ticked off when under the guise of science things are being stated that are just not true. I happen to be educated enough to be able to judge and evaluate these statements but others aren’t.

    I have the greatest respect for mr Plait and in my opinion he’s correct in demanding criticism, certainly regarding homeopathy. But that should at least mean that we should be critical of what we say ourselves. He said there was no evidence… He was wrong… I showed it. That’s the lot of it. No need to buy stocks in homeopathic medicine. But letting them do their research without ridicule whilst demanding proper application of scientific method sounds about fair to me.

    Just think about it for a moment. If there is actual evidence in public research databases right now, and I gave the links to them, while the skeptics claim there isn’t. What does this say about the skeptics?

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