It is so easy to make homeopathy seem stupid when you describe it in an uneducated fashion, when you ignore the 200+ clinical trials, when you remain ignorant of the hundreds of basic science work done in homeopathy, hormesis, and nanopharmacology. It is a tad ironic that you are trying to be a defender of modern science, and yet, you maintain such an embarrassingly unscientific attitude. Whooops.
By the way, epidemiologists have determined that ducks carry many strains of influenza viruses in their digestive tract, and they are one of the carriers/reseviors of these viruses. The fact that homeopaths have used Oscillococcinum (made by duck’s livers and hearts) since 1926 shows that we have been in touch with modern research, and the fact that there have been three large (over 300 patients) trials testing this medicine, with each trial conducted by an independent investigator and each trial with statistical significance. Even the Cochrane Commission calls this research “promising,” but you probably don’t even know who or what the Cochrane Commission is. Whooops again.
First of all, I did not describe homeopathy in an uneducated manner. I used hyperbole to demonstrate just how absurd the entire notion of curing people with extremely dilute substances is. I did exaggerate and I did use hypotheticals. But I described the method the exact same way that Ullman would on his website. Homeopaths really do dilute a substance in ten (or one hundred) times as much water, and continue to dilute it until the chances of a finding a single molecule of the “active” ingredient become infinitesimally small. These people really believe that water has a “memory,” that even a tiny amount of ingredient will leave its “impression” so that the cure will work. I wonder how, if it takes such a small amount of dosage to create a potent cure, homeopathic medicines don’t become severely contaminated by all the different particles in the air? Surely, if an extremely trace (or non-existent) particle of onion can cure hay-fever, a bit of dust in the mix could change things drastically? But then I guess dust makes peoples eyes itch too. Maybe dust makes homeopathic hay-fever cures stronger? But wait, then the substance would become less dilute, because it would have more stuff that makes a person’s eyes itch, and then it would be weaker… and what about all the other particles that might have gotten to the water molecules first? Wouldn’t the water molecules be charged with dinosaur piss, bits of organic molecules, all sorts of germs, etc, well before the the onion or the duck liver or whatever had a chance to charge the water? And wouldn’t the dinosaur piss, or the unknown prehistoric bacteria be a lot more dilute, say several million times more dilute, than the onion or duck liver? So I assume, since more dilution equals more potency, that every homeopathic cure should yield the opposite effect of eating dinosaur piss. Or maybe all of these minor complications are fixed when the homeopath shakes his mixture up and down ten times? Or, maybe, it just doesn’t work.
Ullman continues on to imply that I am ignoring the whopping 200+ clinical trails (which I will return to) and that, for a defender of modern science, I am very unscientific in my thinking. First of all, I am in no way a defender of modern science. Science is progressively changing, and I am fully aware that paradigms do shift. What I am is a defender of scientific thinking, that means believing only in the presence of sufficient evidence. That means I am a skeptic. That means not buying into every bit of claptrap that new-agers and spiritualists throw at me, unless they present a very convincing case. Mr. Ullman seems to imply that while I am unscientific, he is. This seems a bit intellectually dishonest, doesn’t it? Homeopathic.com is not dedicated to discovering if Homeopathy is valid, it already “knows” it is valid, only upon insufficient evidence. And, whenever homeopathy comes under scrutiny people like Ullman grasp at straws and say things like “Haven’t you ever heard of the Cochrane Commision? It says our work might be promising!” That isn’t true, by the way: I don’t think there is a Cochrane Commision, but the Cochrane Collaboration concludes that “there is not enough evidence to reliably assess the possible role of homeopathy in asthma.” So, basically it doesn’t work. If it does, it works no better than a placebo.
As far as studies go, I decided to inquire with someone who might know better than I, and so I decided to contact famed skeptic and debunker of the paranormal, James Randi. Mr. Randi offers $1 million dollars to anyone who can prove the existence of the paranormal in a controlled circumstance. I emailed him saying:
I seem to have attracted quite a big fish in the Homeopathy industry, with my small blog. I published a very crude article, that I originally had printed in the student newspaper at Cal State Long Beach, On my blog… I received a rather angry comment from a “Dana Ullman, MPH,” who is apparently one of the leading purveyors of homeopathic medicine and educational videos. He runs http://homeopathic.com out of Berkeley, California. My article is a quite humorous explanation of homeopathy (explaining what homeopathic birth control might be like), and in no way masquerades as a scholarly work. Ullman’s reply is as follows:
(same as above)
I was curious what you might make of these claims. Nanopharmacology? I suspect that Mr. Ullman made this up. It seems to be a euphemism for homeopathic … I’d be willing to bet that Mr. Ullman’s alleged clinical trials showed statistical significance that was no better than placebo. I was particularly amused when he explained that homeopaths stay current with medical consensus, because they know that Ducks carry flu. This doesn’t change the fact that homeopathic cures contain absolutely zero ingredient! I must admit however, that I did make one very grave error in critical thinking – I assumed that Dana Ullman was a female. Whoops! I have been searching for scholarly articles on the matter, so that I can accurately dispute Ullman’s claims(for some, completely absurd just isn’t enough)… Perhaps I should suggest that he take your Million Dollar Challenge?
I wasn’t sure if Mr. Randi would respond, but he did (quickly, too) saying:
Ullman knows all about the JREF offer, believe me. He’s flatly turned it down…
When he says you ignore the “200+ clinical trials” – ask who did them – homeopaths. He doesn’t mention the definitive BBC/Royal Academy tests for which I offered the JREF million – it failed miserably. His reporting is selective, to say the least.
As for “scholarly articles” disputing homeopathy, recognize that real scientists dismiss it entirely, and don’t care about it any more than they’d care about “eye of newt and toe of frog”! Do you see “scholarly articles” about Santa Claus…?”
So, I put it to you Mr Ullman – why wont you take Randi’s Million Dollar Challenge? Surely, you could use an extra million bucks to throw around. And what about your “clinical studies?” Who wrote them? Even if they weren’t written by homeopaths, as Randi suggests, it seems that the Cochrane Collaboration does not come out in your favor. Not to mention the fact that Randi himself has shown at least twice that the effects of homeopathy are inconclusive at best. The egg is on your face, Mr. Ullman. Whoops.