Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ben Goldacre Runs it Down for You

No doubt I have a few readers who are wondering why I have recently been so nasty and dismissive to advocates for homeopathy. Shouldn't I be mature and dignified and engage constructively with people with whom I disagree?

Sorry, but in the case of homeopathy, it's utterly useless. I know better than to try. Ben Goldacre says everything I could possibly say about this. He explains why the "evidence" in favor of homeopathy is a total crock. That is why I do not waste my time reading the crap that people send me. And he explains how homeopaths respond to criticism:

Here is the strangest thing. Every single criticism I have made could easily be managed with clear and open discussion of the problems. But homoeopaths have walled themselves off from the routine cut-and-thrust of academic medicine, and reasoned critique is all too often met with anger, shrieks of persecution and avoidance rather than argument. The Society of Homeopaths (the largest professional body in Europe, the ones running that frightening conference on HIV) have even threatened to sue bloggers who criticise them. The university courses on homeopathy that I and others have approached have flatly refused to provide basic information, such as what they teach and how. It’s honestly hard to think of anything more unhealthy in an academic setting. . . .

But when they’re suing people instead of arguing with them, telling people not to take their medical treatments, killing patients, running conferences on HIV fantasies, undermining the public’s understanding of evidence and, crucially, showing absolutely no sign of ever being able to engage in a sensible conversation about the perfectly simple ethical and cultural problems that their practice faces, I think: these people are just morons. I can’t help that: I’m human.

So there you go folks. That's why I don't bother to try to reason with you, I just call you idiots. Because that's what you are. And there's nothing more to be said about it.


Mark B. said...

I really enjoyed reading through the previous discussion, and I hope the homeopathy supporters don't see this post as the final word on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Homeopathy is old, traditional. (1790)

It is widely accepted, specially in Europe.

It represents (in Europe) a not insignificant market.

- > Med docs qualified in h.; pharmaceuticals

Homeopathic remedies are cheap, highly competitive

In Europe, many insurers (private or Gov) reimburse

Between 20% and 50% of ppl use homeopathy (in Europe, with some exceptions)

Switz. reiumbursed from 1999 to 2005.

It was demonstrated that doing this did not reduce med. costs (one of the major h. arguments) but did not increase them either.

I am not arguing for h.

Just stating that they have cornered a sort of niche position in the med. market, which explains their impermeability to argument, transparency, proper studies, proof, and so forth.

If they give in they will lose their position as an ‘outsider’, an ‘alternative’, a ‘cheap provider’, a ‘somewhat against standard medecine stance’, and lose their customers.

They have to keep ALL those positions solidly current. It is thus in their interest to be seen to RESIST and to LOBBY as hard as they can for respectability, recognition, accreditation, re-imbursement by insurance - but not too diligently or coherently, certainly never by accepting the terms of the opposition. To survive they have to maintain the outsider label.


Cervantes said...

Yeah Anna but y'know, it doesn't actually work. Which ought to count for something.