Homeopathy fans are angry. Here is what the fuss is about

When I look at the comments to my last two posts about homeopathy, I begin to worry about the sanity of some of the pro-homeopathy commentators. I find it hard to spot anything with substance among all the insults.

However, there might be one exception, and that is the repeated claim that an acclaimed scientist, Professor Robert Hahn, has effectively invalidated my views on homeopathy. As this is a potentially important argument, I feel obliged to provide an explanation. Here it is.

In 1997 Linde et al published their now famous meta-analysis of clinical trials of homeopathy which concluded: ‘The results of our meta-analysis are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homeopathy are completely due to placebo. However, we found insufficient evidence from these studies that homeopathy is clearly efficacious for any single clinical condition. Further research on homeopathy is warranted provided it is rigorous and systematic.’

As this paper had several limitations, the authors conducted a re-analysis which is unfortunately rarely cited by homeopaths. Linde et al stated in their re-analysis of 2000: ‘There was clear evidence that studies with better methodological quality tended to yield less positive results.’ It was this phenomenon that prompted me and my colleague Max Pittler to publish a letter to the editor which has now become the stone of homeopathic contention and fury.

One blog post even goes as far as asking the question: did Professor Ernst sell his soul to Big Pharma? It continues as follows:

Edzard Ernst is an anti-homeopath who spent his career attacking traditional medicine. In 1993 he became professor of complementary medicine at the University of Exeter. He is often described as the first professor of complementary medicine, but the title he assumed should have fooled no one. His aim was to discredit medical therapies, notably homeopathy, and he then published some 700 papers in ‘scientific’ journals to do so.

Now, Professor Robert Hahn, in his blog, has made an assessment of the quality of his work… In the interests of the honesty and integrity in science, it is an important assessment. It shows, in his view, how science has been taken over by ideology (or as I would suggest, more accurately, the financial interests of big corporations, in this case Big Pharma). The blog indicates that in order to demonstrate that homeopathy is ineffective, over 95 per cent of scientific research into homeopathy has to be discarded or removed! 

So for those people who, like myself, cannot read the original German, here is an English translation of the blog.

‘I have never seen a science writer so blatantly biased as Edzard Ernst: his work should not be considered of any worth at all, and discarded,’ finds Sweden’s Professor Robert Hahn, a leading medical scientist, physician, and professor of anaesthesia and intensive care at the University of Linköping, Sweden.

Hahn determined therefore to analyse for himself the ‘research’ which supposedly demonstrated homeopathy to be ineffective, and reached the shocking conclusion that:

‘Only by discarding 98 per cent of homeopathy trials and carrying out a statistical meta-analysis on the remaining two per cent negative studies can one “prove” that homeopathy is ineffective.’

In other words, all supposedly negative homeopathic meta-analyses which opponents of homeopathy have relied on are scientifically bogus…


But who is Professor Hahn, and what article of mine is he criticising? Let me try to answer these questions in turn.

Who is Professor Hahn?

Here I can rely on a comment posted on my blog by someone who can read Swedish:

A renowned director of medical research with well over 300 publications on anaesthesia and intensive care and 16 graduated PhD students under his mentorship, who has been leading a life on the side, blogging and writing about spiritualism, and alternative medicine and now ventures on a public crusade for resurrecting the failing realm of homeopathy. Unbelievable!

I was unaware of this person before, even if I have lived and worked in Sweden for decades.

I have spent the evening looking up his net-track and at his blog at roberthahn.nu (in Swedish). I will try to summarise some first impressions:

Hahn is evidently deeply religious [and] confident that there is more to this world than what can be measured and sensed. In effect, he seems to believe that homeopathy (as well as alternative medical methods in general) must work because there are people who say they have experienced it and denying the possibility is akin to heresy (not his wording but the essence of his writing).

He has, along with his wife, authored at least three books on spiritual matters with titles such as (my translations) Clear Replies From the Spiritual World and Connections of Souls.

He has a serious issue with sceptics and goes on at length about how they are dishonest bluffers who wilfully cherry-pick and misinterpret evidence to fit their preconceived beliefs.

He feels that desperate patients should generally be allowed the chance that alternative methods may offer.

He believes firmly in former-life memories, including his own, which he claims he has found verification for in an ancient Italian parchment.

His main arguments for homeopathy are Claus Linde’s meta analyses and the sheer number of homeopathic research that he firmly believes shows it being superior to placebo, a fact that (in his opinion) shows it has a biological effect. Shang’s work from 2005 he dismisses as seriously flawed.

He also points to individual research like this as credible proof of the biologic effect of remedies.

He somewhat surprisingly denies recommending homeopathy despite being convinced of its effect and maintains that he wants better, more problem-oriented and disease-specific studies to clarify its applicability (my interpretation).

If it weren’t for his track record of genuine, acknowledged medical research and him being a renowned authority in a genuine, scientific medical field, this man would be an ordinary, religiously devout quack.

And what about the article that Hahn refers to?

It was a mere letter to the editor published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology commenting on the above-mentioned re-analysis which Linde et al had published in the same journal. As its text is not available online, I repeat the crucial parts of it here:

In an interesting re-analysis of their meta-analysis of clinical trials of homeopathy, Linde et al conclude that there is no linear relationship between quality scores and study outcome. We have simply re-plotted their data and arrive at a different conclusion. There is an almost perfect correlation between the odds ratio and the Jadad score between the range of 1-4… [Some technical explanations follow. Subsequently, we concluded that…] Linde et al can be seen as the ultimate epidemiological proof that homeopathy is, in fact, a placebo.

And that is, as far as I can see, what all the fuss is about. Do you now understand why I worry about the sanity of these homeopaths?

Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor at the University of Exeter, is the author of A Scientist in Wonderland and the awardee of the John Maddox Prize 2015 for standing up for science. He blogs at edzardernst.com.


  • olavius

    1. Hahn is not a homeopath. And his views on other matters are hardly relevant in this discussion.

    2. I think there is more to it than just your letter fro 2000. from http://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/355916

    Ernst makes conclusions based on assumed data when the true
    data are at hand . Ernst invalidates a study by Jonas et al.
    that shows an odds ratio of 2.19 (1.55–3.11) in favor of
    homeopathy for rheumatic conditions, using the notion that
    there are not sufficient data for the treatment of any specific
    condition. However, his review deals with the overall efficacy
    of homeopathy and not with specific conditions. Ernst
    still adds this statistically significant result in favor of homeopathy
    over placebo to his list of arguments of why homeopathy
    does not work. Such argumentation must be reviewed
    carefully before being accepted by the reader.

    3. Why not comment on his statement extensive exclusion of data
    ‘Only by discarding 98 per cent of homeopathy trials and carrying out a statistical meta-analysis on the remaining two per cent negative studies can one “prove” that homeopathy is ineffective.’

    4. If you pool all trials on conventional medicine you could likewise conclude conventional medicine is not effective for any condition.

    5. Why did you sign as a trained homeopath in you paper from 2002?

    P.S. And didn’t you in your former blog entry here admit homeopathy works?

    • Acleron

      1) Hahn is a believer in homeopathy and that is extremely relevant.
      2) I don’t have access to Ernst’s full paper but the abstract contains
      ‘Similarly, there was no homeopathic remedy that was demonstrated to yield clinical effects that are convincingly different from placebo’
      It looks to me that Ernst is looking at individual disease states. As no individual disease state was positive for homeopathy then it is useless. This conclusion was confirmed by the NHMRC study, Shang and Linde.
      3) It is only the homeopath’s fault that they fail to produce quality evidence. I have noted several trials which can be rejected for lack of controls that could have been performed with controls with little extra effort. Why is that?
      4) See 2
      5) From his era Ernst was as well trained as all other homeopaths, the trend for fake degrees is fairly recent.
      PS He didn’t.

      Hahn makes the claim that as homeopathy works then the majority of trials are low quality because it would be unethical to include controls. He has made up his mind without evidence and then uses his unevidenced claim to justify the lack of evidence. This is reasoning of theological standards.

      • Egger

        1) Edzard is a pseudoskeptik and that is extremely relevant.

        2) Oh heavens.

        3) Quality is not the same of high risk of bias.

        4) See 2

        5) From his era Ernst was not a weel trained homeopath. He worked only in six months (see A scientist in wonderlan).

        Ernst makes tha claims that as homeopathy do not work based in the general low quality of majority trials, when the vast majority of conventional trials show the same pattern. He has made up his mind without any kind evidence and then uses his unevidenced claim to justifiy attacks in mass media. This is reasoning of pseudoskeptikal and misconduct standandards.

        • Acleron

          Still trying to make false analogies with conventional medicine.

          No evidence? When you are not being just an irritant, you provide amusement.

          You homeopaths really ought to get your stories straight. Half the time you claim he is a homeopath and the other half you claim he was never a homeopath.

  • Otawi

    More properly, the headline should read: Homeopathy fans are mad.

  • rosross

    Perception is all. Those who support Homeopathy are less inclined to rage than are those who condemn it. But I understand why Professor Ernst perceives as he must.

    The ‘sanity doubts’ should rightly be applied to those who seek to destroy Homeopathy, a brilliant medical modality which heals and does no harm, as the good Professor once saw and long believed, in a time when conventional, Allopathic medicine is now the third biggest killer and rising.

    We are at a time when all medical modalities need to be explored, not rejected because science cannot yet explain how they work, but work they do.

    There is an irrational, emotional, personal and visceral response to Homeopathy from the naysayers and one can only ask why? What has been their personal experience of non-Allopathic medicine which makes them hysterically opposed to any form of it? Because the rage is generally not just directed at homeopathy, but at anything which has not been sanctioned within the materialist reductionist limitations of modern science.

    On the plus side, such reactions and responses open the way for sensible, informed, mature discussion and the dissemination of information regarding non-Allopathic medicine and the opposers end up making a case for that which they decry, simply because they are so obviously ill-informed, non-informed, mis-informed, prejudiced and ignorant.

    • Tetenterre

      ” Homeopathy, a brilliant medical modality…”

      Thing is, homeopathy is not a medical modality; it is a marketing modality. For snake oil. The “skill” of a “good” homepath lies in “treating” self-limiting (or, better, non-existent) ailments with bugger all. For profit. Then you have the other kind of homeopath. These will pretend to be able to treat anything from malaria to cancer with bugger all. For profit.

      • has

        “Thing is, homeopathy is not a medical modality; it is a marketing modality.”

        Or multi-billion dollar religion if you prefer – and one that delights in playing God with other people’s lives with zero responsibility or accountability.

        So here’s a simple question for all you quackmed peddlers and shills: How much professional liability insurance do you currently have? Because if you don’t, you have absolutely no business giving medical (or rather “medical”) advice to anyone.

      • rosross

        Thing is, Homeopathy is a medical modality, like it or not. And that is why it is practised, by MD’s and in hospitals, particularly in Europe, taught in some medical schools and universities and included by Governments in State MEDICAL systems.

        Game, set, match.

        • Acleron

          Treating people with sugar and water and then claiming they get better because of that sugar and water while supplying zero acceptable evidence is chicanery, not medicine.

          Using logical fallacies to promote that chicanery is typical of you.

          If homeopathy was half as effective as you claim it would show in high quality clinical trials, so explain why that hasn’t happened without yet more fallacies.

          • Jethro Cohen

            Well said. I wish I was as eloquent. The funny thing is rosross has deluded themselves into thinking they won an argument. LOL.

        • Tetenterre

          Shank’s Law.

          The end.

        • David N. Andrews MEd, CPSE

          I love watching pigeons looking as if they’re playing chess….

          Hell, even Skinner didn’t bother with that idea, for bloody good reason!

        • Repeat-ignore. Still a fallacy; still no evidence.

          • Egger

            Repeat-pseudoskeptikal behaviour. Still a fallacy; still no evidence. Tucan head.

    • Larry M

      Thank you Rosross for your non-hate filled response to such a disingenuous attempt to malign the legion of homeopathy supporters whose only interest is to pursue the medical therapy of their choice, free from persecution by so-called experts who purport to have science on their side but in reality are fundamentalists who have no tolerance for those who don’t conform to their scientistic belief system.

      • Jethro Cohen

        Medicine is not a religion. Treatments either work or they don’t. Treatments that don’t work are discarded by the mainstream… why? because They.. Don’t.. Work!!!

        There is literally ZERO evidence that homeopathy has any measurable effect on any clinical condition. ZERO evidence. In hundreds of years, not a single study has been able to conclusively link a homeopathic treatment to recovery from any illness. Never ever! In hundreds of years! Why do you still cling to this belief?

        All this bleating about “well it’s my choice” is unreal. What misplaced sense of entitlement gives you the right to think you can choose or promote modalities that don’t even work? As I said before, real science works whether you believe in it or not. You can’t escape it.

      • Grim Beard

        “their scientistic belief system” You misspelt ‘reality’.

      • Persecution, Larry? What of seriously ill people given false hope by quacks and their (New Age) propagandists? What of the exploitation of such people? What would you term that?

        • Geoffmd

          so you have blind faith in the scientific medical community i.e. big pharmas like GSK and Astra zeneca despite the mounting evidence that they purposefully create and cure diseases in laboratory, peddle false information about outbreaks and deny people actual cures for cancer!

          • Acleron

            Is this evidence mounting like homeopathically? I ask because you have never been able to produce any.

    • ‘… Allopathic medicine is now the third biggest killer and rising.

      Hmm. You repeat-pasted this again eight days ago. Two days after I re-raised this matter with you here: https://goo.gl/71uyd5 (and which I guess you missed?).

      I’ll not re-paste my full comment here; just to comment that I ended it by asking you:

      ‘Will you reconsider your take on this; or will you just continue parroting the same scare-mongering, misleading, quack-friendly, headline propaganda?’

      What to make, Ros, of your anti-medical-science, false equivalence-fallacising, hand-waving deflection?

  • rosross

    Quote:

    Medicines That Respect the Wisdom of the Body

    The use of the principle of similars in healing actually has ancient roots (Coulter, 1975). In the 4th century B.C., Hippocrates is known to have said, “Through the like, disease is produced, and through the application of the like it is cured.” The famed Delphic Oracle in Greece proclaimed the value of the law of similars, stating, “that which makes sick shall heal.” Paracelsus, a well-known 16th century physician and alchemist, used the law of similars extensively in practice and referred to it in writings. His formulation of the “Doctrine of Signatures” spoke directly of the value in using similars in healing. He affirmed, “You there bring together the same anatomy of the herbs and the same anatomy of the illness into one order. This simile gives you understanding of the way in which you shall heal.”

    This principle of similars (using a substance to treat the similar symptoms that it causes) is also used in conventional medicine, with immunizations being the most obvious example, that is, small doses of a “weakened” pathogen are used to prevent what larger doses cause. None other than the “father of immunology,” Dr. Emil Adolph Von Behring (1906), directly pointed to the origins of immunizations when he asserted, “(B)y what technical term could we more appropriately speak of this influence than by Hahnemann’s* word ‘homeopathy’.” (*Samuel Hahnemann, MD, 1755-1843, was a renowned German physician and the founder of homeopathy). Modern allergy treatment, likewise, utilizes the homeopathic approach by the use of small doses of allergens in order to create an antibody response.

    Conventional medical treatment also uses homeopathy’s principle of similars in choosing radiation to treat people with cancer (radiation causes cancer), digitalis for heart conditions (digitalis creates heart conditions), and Ritalin for hyperactive children (Ritalin is an amphetamine-like drug which normally causes hyperactivity). Other examples are the use of nitroglycerine for heart conditions, gold salts for arthritic conditions, and colchicine for gout, all of which are known to cause the similar symptoms that they are found to treat.

    For a historical discussion of various homeopathic drugs that have been incorporated into conventional medicine, see Dr. Harris Coulter’s Homoeopathic Influences in Nineteenth Century Allopathic Therapeutics as well as his more detailed book on homeopathy’s history, Divided Legacy: The Conflict Between Homeopathy and the A.M.A.

    It should be acknowledged that although the conventional medical treatments mentioned above may be homeopathic-like, they do not follow other fundamental principles of homeopathy. Immunizations and allergy treatments are given to prevent or cure special ailments, while homeopathic medicines are substances individually prescribed based on the overall syndrome of body and mind symptoms the person is experiencing, and therefore a homeopathic medicine is thought to strengthen the person’s overall body-mind constitution, not just to prevent or treat a specific illness. Also, these conventional medical treatments are not individually prescribed to the high degree of selectivity that is common in homeopathy, and they are not prescribed in as small or as safe a dose.

    And speaking of dose, this subject is vital, and homeopaths have uncovered an amazing and initially confusing power of the human organism. Homeopaths have found that sick people develop hypersensitivity to substances that cause the similar symptoms that they are experiencing. Further, by giving very small doses of this substance, a person can and will experience an immunological and therapeutic benefit without a toxic burden.

    https://www.homeopathic.com/Articles/Introduction_to_Homeopathy/A_Great_Introductory_Article_for_Advocates_O.html

    • Zakalwe

      I’m going to pick one line out of your post to highlight how little you actually know: “Conventional medical treatment also uses homeopathy’s principle of similars in choosing radiation to treat people with cancer (radiation causes cancer)”. Firstly, you would have to show what you mean by “radiation” as you seem to think that it is a single entity. Do you mean ionising radiation? Or particle?
      How do you factor in that less than 10% of cancers are caused by radiation (ionizing and non-ionizing)?
      How do you explain when radiation is used to treat cancers that are caused by virus infections?
      How do you account for radiation being used to treat cancers caused by genetic inheritance?
      How do you explain when cancers casued by hormones (eg breast cancers) are treated with radiation?
      How do you explain when cancers caused by radiation are *not* treated with radiation but rather with something like chemo?

      You haven’t considered these things because you don’t know about them- if you did then you wouldn’t have made such a ridiculous statement.
      In reality, what you are doing, is floundering around in a very complicated field- one which you clearly know little or nothing about, and picking words because they confirm your bias. You clearly have a lot to learn about the world.

    • You could just post the link, you know. All part of your disingenuous thread saturation tactic. Who are you trying to reach with this dreck? Elsewhere, you mention, ‘quacko sites which post misinformation’ – but any site posting any pro-homeopathy material is fine by you, right?

  • Larry M

    Ernst’s need to attack homeopathy and defend himself smacks of desperation in the face of the growing use and popularity of homeopathy around the globe. He is an ideologue who can’t stand that something he doesn’t believe can work could be embraced by so many people. Regardless of all the skeptics’ disingenuous attempts to reinterpret the results of trials to favor their expectations, it does not in any way negate the legitimate firsthand positive experiences of millions of satisfied homeopathic practitioners and patients.

    • Jethro Cohen

      Just because a lot of people believe something, doesn’t mean it works. Take religion for example. Billions of people believe in it, but there is ZERO evidence that validates the claims of any of the religions in the world. The stupidity of human beings, and their willingness to believe things blindly with no proof should not be underestimated. That is why the world needs rational sceptics who can call “bullshit” when the quacks start trolling out their discredited and unproven beliefs.

      Homeopaths and other quacks invent vague conditions, with vague symptoms. Magically they have the ingredients to create vague, massively diluted medicines, which treat their vague illnesses in ways they can’t fully explain (cos they don’t work, duh). Don’t bother with statistical analysis, isolating placebo, negating bias, double blinds, or studying large sample sizes. None of that sort of scientific rigour is applies to homeopathy! (duh, because if it did, it would prove the obvious – it DOESN’T WORK, and then where would you go??). Instead, you cling to your anecdotal “evidence” and your medieval beliefs! It’s so pathetic. I’d find it laughable if not for the fact that I see quacks like you as greedy scare-mongers who prey on the desperate and stupid, and are a danger to society!

      • Larry M

        Jethro, Where to begin with your hate-filled diatribe? I can see that you are upset. I honestly don’t know you, don’t know what happened to you, or who hurt you, but you need to examine why you feel the need to vent your rage on me. It certainly has nothing to do with science. I would recommend professional help–and certainly not from a homeopath–that would only inflame your condition.

        • Maria_Maclachlan

          Given the personal attacks on Edzard Ernst and the more generalised attack on skeptics in your opening post, Larry, it is exquisitely ironic that you should describe Jethro’s as a “hate-filled diatribe” that “has nothing to do with science”. Like homeopathy itself, nothing you have said so far has anything to do with science and your attempt at condenscension as a way of diverting attention from the very perfectly reasonable point Jethro makes about homeopathy supporters depending on anecdotal while ignoring statistical analysis, isolating placebo, negating bias, double blinds, or studying large sample sizes fools nobody except those very same people who are stupid enough to embrace homeopathy.

          • Larry M

            Yes, of course, Jethro was perfectly reasonable. No diversion from the fact that I regard the personal experiences (what you would trivialize as “anecdotal”) of homeopathic patients as a superior form of evidence.

          • has

            So that’s one Appeal to Popularity, one Ad Hominem, and one Anecdotal Fallacy. Can you do fries with that?

          • rosross

            Mockery is the sign of no argument. Thank you so much.

          • Tetenterre

            In this case, mockery is a sign that what the mockee’s has tried to pass off as an ‘argument’ is eminently mockworthy.

          • Mike Kelso

            The “argument” has been so clearly and repeatedly presented, tested, proven beyond reasonable doubt. It is not worth carrying it on. When you and your ilk try to continue it with “personal testimony” as your only data, mockery is exactly what you deserve. Please keep in mind that if 50 million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.

          • Jethro Cohen

            Brilliant!

          • ‘… I regard the personal experiences (what you would trivialize as “anecdotal”) of homeopathic patients as a superior form of evidence.’

            So what?! What relevance is your ‘regard’? Human testimony is the most fallible thing. As yours demonstrate.

          • Mark

            “No diversion from the fact that I regard the personal experiences (what
            you would trivialize as “anecdotal”) of homeopathic patients as a
            superior form of evidence.”

            What personal experiences are that?

      • rosross

        So, your position is that for more than two centuries, millions of people, patients and doctors alike, many of them also qualified Allopathic MD’s, have managed to maintain countless lies that they have been cured, keep up a delusion that Homeopathy has been effective, etc. etc. etc……..because???????????????

        Your position is neither credible nor likely, let alone possible.

        Human beings, particularly when it comes to disease, death, disability etc., tend to recognise cure for what it is and while a few might maintain delusions, most do not.

        It is impossible that a medical modality should survive, let alone thrive, over more than two centuries as pure fraud. It is impossible to create such pure fraud.

        Perhaps you could give a brief summation as to how you believe this fraud is perpetrated in the modern age by medical professionals who practise Homeopathy; academic institutions which teach it, Governments which include it in State medical systems and their various legal teams who would be called in to sign off on it.

        You are convinced it is all pure fraud so make a coherent and credible case as to how that happens. I await with interest.

        • Jethro Cohen

          Your position, that “It must work because they’ve been doing it for 200 years” is patently ridiculous. Personal testimony, the LEAST reliable form of evidence, is the ONLY card you are holding. Surely if homeopathy worked at all, there’d be massive volumes of corroborating evidence, collected over hundreds of years, to validate these personal testimony. The fact is, this evidence does NOT exist. Luckily there is plenty of evidence to show that homeopathy doesn’t work.

          Sorry buddy, but homeopathy has never been proven to cure any disease, ever. In history. Hundreds of years ago, people did all sorts of stupid things on the basis of superstition, old wives tales, and being stuck in an earlier paradigm, which over time has been proven to be incorrect. Paradigm shift occurs when new and better knowledge is discovered which invalidates the old paradigm. That has been the pattern of our society, as we progress (hopefully) to a higher level of understanding of our world. Unfortunately for you, since the development of homeopathy, MASSIVE strides have been made in the way we critically view the world, and the depth of our understanding. Homeopathy was developed when we still had no idea of the atomic structure of water, or that germs could cause diseases. Doctors were delivering babies without even washing their hands. Snake oil salesmen were peddling cure-all potions at country fairs. THAT is the world in which homeopathy was born. That some of the ideas still persist in the modern day is perplexing, because we as human beings, have refuted and discredited every single one of the beliefs that underpinned homeopathy.

          Water has memory? What baloney. If you believe that, I suggest you revisit your 8th grade physics and chemistry classes. Diluting a substance to an infinitesimally small amount in solution does NOT make it medicine. It makes it water which may or may not contain a single molecule of the original substance. And even if some of the original ingredient did remain in your solution, what process was followed to validate that particular ingredient has any clinical effect on the particular condition you’re trying to treat??? None? Yeah, that’s right. But I guess you don’t need to validate facts, and prove effectiveness before marketing your quack medicine to unsuspecting people. You just fall back to that medieval maxim of “that which is the poison is also the cure”. What utter rubbish. That little snippet of pagan wisdom is not based on any factual information either. It is just a superstitious belief that has morphed into what you laughably call “allopathic medicine”. What a crock.

          The extent to which seemingly normal people are willing to belief completely outlandish things should not shock anyone. In Saudi Arabia, the government literally employs spell-breakers in their police force (because apparently witchcraft is a problem in Saudi). Millions of people worldwide have been brainwashed by religious preachers to the point where they are willing to slaughter anyone who disagrees with them. The fervour of their belief is boundless… but… and this is the important thing… it does NOT make them correct.

          If you can convince millions of people that allah or god or mohammed are legitimate beings, you can be damn sure it will be easy to convince folk to believe in homeopathy. Sorry mate, but I deal with facts. And facts must be proven, repeatable, observable, solid FACTS.

          You cannot prove that homeopathy works, yet there is ample proof that it does NOT work. It simply doesn’t work. So why do you cling to these ridiculous beliefs?

  • Maria_Maclachlan

    It may be worth adding that Linde co-authored a brief article in the Lancet in December 2005. In it he wrote,
    “We agree (with Shang et al) that homoeopathy is highly implausible and that the evidence from placebo-controlled trials is not robust…Our 1997 meta-analysis has unfortunately been misused by homoeopaths as evidence that their therapy is proven.” (Emphasis added).

    The homeopathy faithful who are fond of selectively quoting from Linde’s 1997 paper never mention this article either, funnily enough.

    • olavius

      Wrong. All the metaanalyses even the Shang 2005 paper are mentioned here
      https://www.hri-research.org/resources/homeopathy-the-debate/essentialevidence/clinical-trials-overview/

      Robert Hahn still finds the 1997 Linde paper to be the best metaanalysis as it took 89 trials into considerration. (and not just 8 trials like Shang)
      http://roberthahn.nu/2014/01/05/min-vetenskapliga-artikel-om-homeopati/

      Linde 1997 form the Lancet:

      INTERPRETATION: The results of our meta-analysis are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homeopathy are completely due to placebo.

      The article has not been retracted.

      • olavius said:

        “Wrong.”

        What? Did Linde not say that?

        • olavius

          Wrong that homeopaths never quote all meta-analysis. From the link I gave:

          There have been 6 meta-analyses of homeopathy:
          five were positive – suggesting that there was some evidence of an effect of homeopathy beyond placebo, but more high quality research would be needed to reach definitive conclusions
          one was negative – concluding that homeopathy had no effect beyond placebo.

          • LOL!

            Let’s just look at the conclusions of the various reviews:

            1. Kleijnen et al, 1991, meta-analysis, 107 trials.

            “CONCLUSIONS: At the moment the evidence of clinical trials is positive but not sufficient to draw definitive conclusions because most trials are of low methodological quality and because of the unknown role of publication bias. This indicates that there is a legitimate case for further evaluation of homoeopathy, but only by means of well performed trials.”

            Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1825800

            2. Boissel et al, 1996, critical literature review commissioned by the European Commission Homeopathic Medicine Research Group, 184 trials. Boissel controversially combined p-values of the highest quality trials to arrive at this conclusion:

            “From the available evidence it is likely that among the tested homoeopathic approaches some had an added effect over nothing or placebo….but the strength of this evidence is low because of the low methodological quality of the trials.”

            3. Cucherat et al 2000, used the same data as Boissel but with the addition of at least two more trials. Boissel was one of the four-strong research team and authored the report, which concluded:

            “There is some evidence that homeopathic treatments are more effective than placebo; however, the strength of this evidence is low because of the low methodological quality of the trials. Studies of high methodological quality were more likely to be negative than the lower quality studies. Further high quality studies are needed to confirm these results.”

            Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10853874

            Early in 2010, science writer Martin Robbins wrote:

            “I spoke to Jean-Pierre Boissel, an author on two of the four papers cited (Boissel et al and Cucherat et al), who was surprised at the way his work had been interpreted.

            “My review did not reach the conclusion ‘that homeopathy differs from placebo’,” he said, pointing out that what he and his colleagues actually found was evidence of considerable bias in results, with higher quality trials producing results less favourable to homeopathy.”

            Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2010/feb/04/homeopathic-association-evidence-commons-committee

            4. Linde 1997, meta-analysis, 89 trials.

            “The results of our meta-analysis are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homeopathy are completely due to placebo. However, we found insufficient evidence from these studies that homeopathy is clearly efficacious for any single clinical condition. Further research on homeopathy is warranted provided it is rigorous and systematic.”

            Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9310601

            Linde produced a follow-up paper in 1999, which concluded:

            “The evidence of bias [in homeopathic trials] weakens the findings of our original meta-analysis. Since we completed our literature search in 1995, a considerable number of new homeopathy trials have been published. The fact that a number of the new high-quality trials… have negative results, and a recent update of our review for the most “original” subtype of homeopathy (classical or individualized homeopathy), seem to confirm the finding that more rigorous trials have less-promising results. It seems, therefore, likely that our meta-analysis at least overestimated the effects of homeopathic treatments.”
            Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10391656

            Linde co-authored a brief article in the Lancet in December 2005. In it he wrote,

            “We agree (with Shang et al) that homoeopathy is highly implausible and that the evidence from placebo-controlled trials is not robust…Our 1997 meta-analysis has unfortunately been misused by homoeopaths as evidence that their therapy is proven.”

            Source: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(05)67878-6/fulltext

            5. Shang et al, meta-analysis 2005, 8 homeopathy trials selected from 110 and 6 trials of conventional medicine selected from 110.

            “Biases are present in placebo-controlled trials of both homoeopathy and conventional medicine. When account was taken for these biases in the analysis, there was weak evidence for a specific effect of homoeopathic remedies, but strong evidence for specific effects of conventional interventions. This finding is compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects.”

            Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16125589

            6. Then there’s Mathie et al.:

            “Conclusions: Medicines prescribed in individualised homeopathy may have small, specific treatment effects. Findings are consistent with sub-group data available in a previous ‘global’ systematic review. The low or unclear overall quality of the evidence prompts caution in interpreting the findings. New high-quality RCT research is necessary to enable more decisive interpretation.”

            Source: http://systematicreviewsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2046-4053-3-142

            I’m sure you’ll be aware of the many criticisms of Mathie et al., but was Mathie correct in only looking at what he determined were trials of ‘individualised’ homeopathy?

            Any idea when this much-called-for high quality RCT research will be published?

          • olavius

            My point to Maria was, that it is not correct homeopaths never mentions negative trials. The page quoted lists them.

            Did you by the way note the many conclusions all saying SOME evidence? That is not the same as NO evidence. Also if you bother going through some of the trials selected for the analysis you will note many trials with very positive outcomes. That is not the same as NO evidence. So the evidence is there right in front of you,

            Yes or no – would you also consider the conclusion that “conventional medicine is proved not to work based on pooling all available clinical trials” a fair evaluation?

          • olavious said:

            “My point to Maria was, that it is not correct homeopaths never mentions negative trials.”

            Did she claim that? If so, where?

          • olavius

            At the beginning.

            And again, you did not answer my question.

          • olavius said:

            “At the beginning.”

            Where, specifically?

          • Egger

            Maria McL:

            “The homeopathy faithful who are fond of selectively quoting from Linde’s 1997 paper never mention this article either, funnily enough

          • Maria_Maclachlan

            Enough already! Olavius, if you re-read my post carefully you will see that nowhere in it do I claim that “homeopaths never mentions negative trials”.

          • Thought not…

          • Egger

            I’ve read your comment.

            “The homeopathy faithful who are fond of selectively quoting from Linde’s 1997 paper never mention this article either, funnily enough”

            Really? HA HA HA.

          • Egger

            Acleron is a pseudo skeptic hyper troll of lobby “Nightingale Collaboration” and member of James Randi Gangsters Fundation or “Sense” About “Science”.

          • Acleron

            You know as little about me as you do about science. For the record and so that everyone will know you are lying if you repeat any of the above, I am not associated with with the Nightingale Foundation or with Sense About Science and my only association with the Randi foundation is as a member of their discussion forum. By the way, Dana Ullman is also a member of that forum.

          • Egger

            Really? Why do you post in all days of the week against of homeopathy? Why do rejects any evidence? Why do you cite only cherry picked papers?

            HA HA HA HA You are a troll.

          • Acleron

            So you don’t even understand the concept of a troll. I’ll give you an example, a troll is someone who consistently without evidence calls anyone who criticises their ideas as a liar. Someone like you.

          • Acleron

            ‘Did you by the way note the many conclusions all saying SOME evidence?’

            This is an essential difference between a homeopath and a scientist.

            If the data is too poor to draw conclusions then better evidence should be sought. Instead we have an unending stream of yet more poor quality work printed mainly in alt med magazines which allow conclusions that do not reflect the data.

          • Egger

            “If the data is too poor to draw conclusions then better evidence should be sought.”

            You need remember the Linde conclusion: “The results are comparable to those from similar analyses in conventional medicine”

            RandiLOOOL!

          • Acleron

            Oh right, because flying carpets don’t work, homeopathy does.

            The level of thinking in homeopathy matches the amount of active material in their product. Zero.

          • Egger

            But flying carpets don’t fly and orthodox medicines display the same behaviour as homepathy:
            —The results are comparable to those from similar analyses in conventional medicine

            Poor Acleron…

          • Egger

            LOL!

            1. “Based on this evidence we would readily accept that homeopathy can be efficacious, if only the mechanism of action were more plausible’”

            2 & 3. Poor Cucherat, he need contradictions:

            “There is some evidence that homeopathic treatments are more effective than placebo; however, the strength of this evidence is low because of the low methodological quality of the trials”

            “It is clear that the strength of available evidence is insufficient to conclude that homeopathy is clinically efective”

            “We cannot eliminate the possibility that the available trials were biased resulting in a meta-analysis which is also biased”

            “My review did not reach the conclusion ‘that homeopathy differs from placebo””

            Insufficient evidence is not lack of evidence.

          • Here is all the evidence showing a property of matter which behaves as homeopaths claim:

            Here is all the evidence showing that symptomatic similarity is a basis of cure:

            Here is all the evidence presented in favour of homeopathy which is provably inconsistent with the null hypothesis:

            Here is a brief and incomplete list of well established scientific principles which conflict with the beliefs of homeopathy:

            * The law of conservation of energy.
            * The second law of thermodynamic s.
            * The Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

            Here is a brief and incomplete list of fields of scientific knowledge which have no component that is in any way validated or explained by homeopathy:

            * All current knowledge of human anatomy.
            * All current knowledge of human physiology.
            * All current knowledge of biochemistry.
            * All current knowledge of chemistry.
            * All current knowledge of physics.

            Set against that we have an 18th Century medical cult which asserts that it, alone amongst all forms of medical knowledge of its time, is correct. Oh, and all medical knowledge gained since then is also incorrect, because it’s “allopathy” (which, as described by Hahnemann, has not existed for over a century). Oh, and all parts of it are correct despite the existence of mutually contradictory traditions.

            And the funniest one of all: homeopathy has no mechanism for self-correction. No remedy has ever been withdrawn after being found to be incorrect. Homeopathy considers itself to be unique among human endeavours in being immune to error, even though homeopaths often disagree violently on quite fundamental issues related to their dogmas.

          • Egger

            Oh dear, you pseudoletter is very funny. Homeopathy never rejects human anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, chemistry or physics. Of course, if your straw man fallacy was a real, “homeopaths” never used in vitro test, biomarkers, anatomy wisdom, and so.

            The others….

            You before:

            Homeopathy contradicts… “All current knowledge of chemistry.* All current knowledge of physics”

            You after:

            Here is a brief and incomplete list of well established scientific principles which conflict with the beliefs of homeopathy: The law of conservation of energy. The second law of thermodynamic s. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle.”

            Sorry, three points are not ALL current knowledge of basic sciences. Now, the list… please, feel to free and show me the demonstration:

            1. First law of thermodynamics: Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.
            2. Second law of thermodynamics: The entropy change of an isolated system can never be negative.
            3. Heisenberg uncertainty principle: Applied in wave like systems and quantum systems.

            How ultra high dilutions contradicts your list of three items?

          • Egger

            Oh heavens! Why do you cut the complete cite? LOL!

            4. “Our analyses provide clear evidence that in the study set investigated more rigorous trials tended to yield smaller effect sizes. The most plausible explanation of this finding is bias. The results are comparable to those from similar analyses in conventional medicine”

            5. “However, there are major problems with the way Shang and colleagues present and discuss their results, as well as how The Lancet reviewed and interpreted this study. We will point out two. First, Shang and colleagues do not follow accepted and published guidelines for reporting meta-analyses. In1999, The Lancet published the QUORUM statement for improving the quality of reports of meta-analyses.”

            6. “Unlike our predecessors, we found no evidence that lower- quality trials displayed a larger treatment effect than that of higher-quality studies”

            “With caution due to overall weak quality of the evidence, we infer that individually prescribed homeopathic medicines have small, specific, treatment effects”

            Linde comment on 2015:

            “When reading the skeptical literature, one gets the impression that the available placebo-controlled trials suggest there is no effect of homeopathic treatment over placebo. This is misleading. The findings of our 1997 meta-analysis [3] as well as those of Shang et al. [1] and now of Mathie et al. reveal that on average such trials show an effect over placebo”

            LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!

    • Egger

      Oh heavens! Why you cut the complete cite?

      “However, there are major problems with the way Shang and colleagues present and discuss their results, as well as how The Lancet reviewed and interpreted this study. We will point out two. First, Shang and colleagues do not follow accepted and published guidelines for reporting meta-analyses. In1999, The Lancet published the QUORUM statement for improving the quality of reports of meta-analyses.”

      “We now find it extremely disappointing that a major medical journal misuses a similar study in a totally uncritical and polemical manner

      • The main problem identified with Shang is that people don’t like the conclusion. By people, I mean of course homeopathists. The reality-based community has no issue with it because its findings are entirely unsurprising, and are fully consistent with other scientific knowledge.

        • Egger

          Who is the “reality-based community? James Randi Paedophile Foundation? Nightingale Henness-McLahann gangsters? Edzard Poo? Simon Coca Singh? Ben Pfizer AllTrials Goldenpharma? Who?

  • BBF

    Fans? Really? Not a very scientific observation, Edzard. Changing your mind about homeopathy puts you squarely in the unbelievable category.

    • Acleron

      The venom reserved for apostates of religious cults remains unabated.

    • Tetenterre

      “Changing your mind about homeopathy puts you squarely in the unbelievable category.”

      ???

      Changing one’s mind in response to evidence is an indicator of intelligence & vv).
      (But I do understand your lack of experience in this regard.)

  • Tetenterre

    Isn’t it amusing – and instructive – that none of the touts for pseudomedicine that has commented here has managed to address and refute anything that Prof. Ernst wrote, and instead resorts of a gamut of logical flaws, ranging from arguementum ad hominem, through argumentum ad populam, to good old plain mindless abuse?

    • rosross

      Perhaps time fro you to reread, slowly.

      • Tetenterre

        You do know what ‘refute’ means, don’t you?

        Time for you to rewrite. Slowly. And honestly.

        • rosross

          The article’s main authors are a team of molecular biologists, led by Dr A R Khuda-Bukhsh from the University of Kalyani in West Bengal. The AYUSH chief said the new medicine is far from a cure for liver cancer.

          “We in homeopathy say medicines can help treat a disease. It may help patients if taken along with other medications, but there is a still a whole lot of research to be done,” said Manchanda, adding that the paper should be viewed as proof that homeopathy works.

          http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Hepatitis-C-virus-can-control-liver-cancer/articleshow/52333019.cms

          • Tetenterre

            I wonder why you chose to quote the homeoquack but not the next paragraph:
            “A leading oncologist said the efficacy of homeopathic medicines, especially in oncology, has not yet been proven.”

            Is it because you decided to ignore the word ‘honestly’ in my previous post?

          • Egger

            Who is the “leading oncologist”? David the pseudoskeptikal porky?

            HA HA HA

            http://www.natureasia.com/en/nindia/article/10.1038/nindia.2016.66

          • Acleron

            Let’s look at what Manchanda said.

            Far from a cure
            more research

            And then should be viewed as proof that homeopathy works.

            Manchanda is apparently a director of homeopathic research. It shows.

            The paper itself is some cell culture work that was reported, not in a leading journal but in an alt med magazine. As usual for quacks, there is insufficient information to find out exactly what they did but Khuda-Bukhsh got real coy when he was asked for details and just blustered.

            If this team were really molecular biologists which I sincerely doubt, their future employment prospects in that field have been severely reduced by their association with this dreck.

          • Egger

            “Manchanda is apparently a director of homeopathic research. It shows.”

            And? Alan Heness is a director from Nightigale Lobby. Simon Sigh is director of “Good”Thinking Society. T-Brown Terminator is director and pseudosociologist from $ense About $cience.

            “The paper itself is some cell culture work that was reported, not in a leading journal but in an alt med magazine”

            Are you retarded? Ernst E published some papers in the same alt med journals. Why do you think that is a not problem for Ernst?

            “As usual for quacks, there is insufficient information to find out exactly what they did but Khuda-Bukhsh got real coy when he was asked for details and just blustered.”

            As usual of Acleron gangsters, the pseudo skeptiks defame and libel any researcher as “quack” or “crank”. Go idiot, go read!

            http://www.natureasia.com/en/nindia/article/10.1038/nindia.2016.66

          • Acleron

            Nobody of any intelligence would claim that something is requires more research and that it proves something.

            The scam of homeopathy is such that homeopaths are more interested in the name Nature, than in the work.

            That is why they reference through an abstracting service rather than the alt mag magazine itself.

            Laughably, NatureAsia has an impact factor of zero, must be homeopathic.

            On Ernst’s web site Khuda-Bukhsh was asked technical questions of the controls he used, questions that any lead scientist would answer. He didn’t and instead tried to pull an argument from authority. It probably impresses you but not real scientists.

          • Egger

            Hey! Randi is devoid of any signal of intelegence. The scam of JREF and Maddox fraud is very funny.

            “That is why they reference through an abstracting service rather than the alt mag magazine itself.”

            Oh, dear idiot. Nature assia is not a journal, obviously this not has peer review or impact factor.

            “n Ernst’s web site Khuda-Bukhsh was asked technical questions of the controls he used, questions that any lead scientist would answer. “

            I’ve read all comments. Khuda debunks the idioticy of lack of placebo control (Paul Morgan said this idioticy).

          • Egger

            If you don’t like the “alt magazines”. Why Ersnt Poo is a chief editor of alt mag FACT? Why do you not see the contradiction?

            https://www.researchgate.net/journal/1465-3753_Focus_on_Alternative_and_Complementary_Therapies

            Current I.F: 0

            HA HA HA HA HA HA

          • Yes, you in homeopathy say it “can help” treat a disease, and this is code for the fact that you cannot provide any objective evidence that it does in fact treat any disease, instead relying on subjective endpoints that allow you to claim that tea and sympathy “helps”.

          • Egger

            “instead relying on subjective endpoints that allow you to claim that tea and sympathy “helps”

            Oh the fallacy of 100% objetivity. Medicine is not 100% objective. You loose child Chapman.

  • Tetenterre

    If the touts for homeopathy want to lay this matter to rest for once and for all, all they need to do is to cite one (yes, just one) replicated robust-quality DBRCT that demonstrates that homeopathy is distinguishable from placebo.

    Surely, with a history of over 200 years, it shouldn’t be that difficult, so I begin to wonder why every time this challenge is proposed, it results in one or more of the following responses:

    * Nothing
    * Citing of trials that fail to meet one or more (usually more) of the criteria
    * Special pleading about the use of DBRCTs for homeopathy
    * Red herrings about “allopathy”
    * Claims that the replicated robust DBRCTs are there if we bothered to look for them

    Then I remember that these are the buffoons who would have us believe that, if you take a substance that has a concentration of one molecule of the original “active ingredient” per sphere the size of Earth’s orbit around the Sun and then dilute it even further, so that the concentration is now less than one molecule per known Universe, it has somehow become more potent.

    • Acleron

      Many skeptics will have seen the result of explaining to the uninitiated that homeopathic preparations contain nothing. Homeopaths are fully aware that this exposes their quackery and over the years have either tried to suppress such information or have enlisted evermore fantastic explanations.

      A recent trend has been to point to ‘lower potency’ products which do contain starting material but which are indistinguishable from herbal products.

      • Egger

        “that homeopathic preparations contain nothing”

        Really? All homeopathic preparations?

        From historical review:

        -From a historical perspective, the predominant modes of prescribing have covered the full spectrum from the use of low potencies (including mother tinctures) to the exclusive use of very high potencies-

        Acleron, you are a liar, cheat and fraudster!

        • Acleron

          You failed to show any difference between extraction and dilution methods between homeopathy and herbalism. Historically, as herbalism predates homeopathy by a few millennia, we must say that any preps with detectable materials are in fact herbal. Homeopathy’s only distinguishing characteristic are your insane dilutions and claims that preparations with nothing present are somehow active.

          Claiming that herbal products are homeopathic are as fraudulent as claiming vaccination is homeopathic and as fraudulent as claiming that zero dose gives any effect beyond placebo.

          • Egger

            “You failed to show any difference between extraction and dilution methods between homeopathy and herbalism.”

            Oh dear, herbalism never use homeopathic sucession.

            “Homeopathy’s only distinguishing characteristic are your insane dilutions and claims that preparations with nothing present are somehow active”

            Not all homeopathic medicines are “herbalism”. You know this detail.

            Claiming that herbal products are the same homeopathic potentization are as fraudulent as caliming Randi is a honest and as fraudulent as claiming that $ense About $cience display the 2015 donation of Coke in their website.

    • Christine Laing

      Way too much work. How about a DBR anything you damn well please that distinguishes one sugar pill from another?

      • It’s not possible, apparently:

        House of Lords Science and Technology Committee 21 FEBRUARY 2007

        Ms Chatfield: I am Kate Chatfield. I am here to represent the Society of Homeopaths and I am a senior lecturer in homeopathy at the University of Central Lancashire.

        Q538 Lord Broers: I have a simple, technical question about homeopathy and drugs. Is it possible to distinguish between homeopathic drugs after they have been diluted? Is there any means of distinguishing one from the other?

        Ms Chatfield: Only by the label.

        http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200607/ldselect/ldsctech/166/7022105.htm

        • olavius

          Homeopathic remedies comes in many potencies. The contents of lower potencies can be confirmed by a simple lab test as millions of molecules of the orignal substance still is present. For the higher potencies you will need more advance equipment like in the Langmuir article.

          • Ah. I see you don’t know much about how homeopathic sugar pill products are manufactured in the UK.

            Anyway, was that senior lecturer in homeopathy and representative of the Society of Homeopaths, the largest trade body for homeopath in the UK, wrong?

          • olavius

            Off course I do and I have even vistited one so I can confirm saying there is nothing in the lower potencies remedies is just a plain lie.
            If you have the bottle in your hand Chatfield is correct in saying “only by the label” same would go for any other bottle of medicine.

          • No, it seems you don’t.

            However, Chatfield said nothing about having a bottle in her hand – the question from Lord Broers was a general question about homeopathy. But of course, it’s perfectly possible to determine what’s in a bottle of ‘other’ medicine, not so, it seems, bottles of sugar pills – especially the ones at the bottom.

          • olavius

            So because of what a homeopath once said you then conclude there is NOTHING in a lower potency remedy?
            Yes or no – a lower potency in for instance 6X remedy contains nothing of the original startnig material?

          • Oh dear.

          • olavius

            I take that as a no then.

          • I see you’re still missing the point.

          • olavius

            No I understand. You will not answer a simple question.

          • No, you clearly don’t.

            Was Chatfield wrong?

          • olavius

            If anyone states you could only tell the difference in homeopathic remedies by the label then you are wrong. A simple lab test will disclose the contents of a low potency. I am sure Chatfield will agree. Will you? Yes or no? If you avoid this simple question I will note write to you again.

          • How could you be sure that Chatfield would agree with you when it is contrary to the plain words she said? Perhaps if you think she’s wrong, you could contact her and ask…

            “If you avoid this simple question I will note write to you again.”

            That’s your choice, but it seems like we need to take things slowly with you to unravel your claims.

          • Jethro Cohen

            How do you even know the original starting material has any clinical effect? What research has been done by homeopaths to justify their choices of ingredients?

          • Egger

            Yes, low potency contain material doses.

          • Jethro Cohen

            She was asked if there were “any means of distinguishing one from the other?”. She said no. Why would you even try to obfuscate and defend her?

          • Egger

            Low potencies, not high dilutions.

          • Acleron

            Low concentrations and zero concentrations. FIFY.

          • Egger

            Oh dear….

            http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0074181

            “As highlighted by our experiments, homeopathy is not a uniform medicinal system, and homeopathic remedies can be grouped into at least two major classes: remedies of high potency (extremely high dilution and low dose) and those of low potency or even mother tinctures (doses near or equal to allopathic doses).”

            HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

          • Acleron

            Homeopaths can call their products anything they want but the reality is that high dose products are indistinguishable from herbal extractions.

          • Egger

            “Low concentrations and zero concentrations”

            Please, you can drink a one thousand bottles of arnica montana in 2C dilution or in mother tincture. Why do you not drink this? Please, you may be try an homeopathic low potency overdose. Why not?

          • Acleron

            What a ridiculous question, I am as unlikely to drink a one in 10,000 of herbal extract. A 30C solution made by a competent technician would cause no problems but certainly not one prepared by a homeopath as they don’t show much competence in anything.

          • Jethro Cohen

            Soooo wait… LOWER potency medicines have MORE of the original substance in them? How exactly does that work? Is homeopathy somehow immune to the simple laws of physics? Do you even have the slightest clue regarding how the world around you works???

          • Egger

            How homeopathy contradicts ALL laws of physicis?
            Show me the evidence!

          • Acleron

            The strawman is erected.

          • Egger

            No, again:

            How homeopathy contradicts ALL laws of physicis? Show me the evidence!

          • Acleron

            That you cannot even see the strawman you erected is mildly amusing.

        • Egger

          Oh dear…. Chatfield is not a physicist.

          They are physicist’s and chemist’s:

          http://www.cabdirect.org/abstracts/20163099815.html;jsessionid=246A26ED3B6C09E9C7D690C3CEF83EC6

          • Acleron

            Being neither a physicist or a chemist you failed to see the glaring error in that work. The control was not the diluent.

          • Egger

            Oh really? Are you idiot or retarded or stupid? From the paper:

            —“Ethanol concentration of the drugs and the control was fixed at 0.03 molar fraction.”—

            :V

          • Acleron

            Thus demonstrating why you are a homeopath and not a scientist. The correct control is the actual diluent used, not something made up from a different source.

          • Oh. Doesn’t a senior lecturer in homeopathy know what she talking about, then?

          • Egger

            Oh dear, Chatfield is a physician, not a physicist. She only refer to ultra high dilution.

          • Egger said:

            “Oh dear, Chatfield is a physician, not a physicist. She only refer to ultra high dilution.”

            Oh? Where does she say that? And why do you claim she’s a physician?

  • Brian Battles

    No one has ever yet credibly explained how the heck homeopathy is actually supposed to work. Other than by magic or wishful thinking. What a waste of time and money. Why not just stand in a cemetery at midnight and swing a dead cat over your head instead?

    • The homeopaths and their propagandists/apologists do employ mechanistic dead cats… as obfuscating pseudoscientific deflection from the fact that they cannot meet the primary question of whether it actually works. That and more logical fallacies than you can swing a dead cat at.

      • Proper hydration is essential to good health.

      • painedumonde

        They most likely use dead cat essence in a BPA free bottle. Dead cat is messy.

  • Ffrreedd

    To illustrate how homeopathy “works” there is a flu “remedy” that is very popular (I won’t even try to spell it) that is duck heart and liver diluted to 200C. Take an eye dropper with pure duck heart and liver. Put a drop in to the ocean. Wait a couple of months for the water to mix. Fill another eye dropper with ocean water. Go to 4 other planets with similar amounts of ocean water and do the same thing with the water from the previous planet. After you finish, the ocean water of the last planet will have the same concentration of duck heart and liver as those pills.

  • Christine Laing

    There’s one simple test that would convince me. Prepare a powerful remedy and some blanks (same carrier substance). Or maybe two remedies, one make you feverish, one gives you chills. Or any other combination or symptom–whatever the researcher thinks would be easiest.

    Then randomly pick a remedy/blank and give it blinded to a researcher. All the researcher has to do is say which remedy is which. They can use any technique they like, including giving it to a sick person. Or a healthy person. Or setting on a TV set. Or holding it near a hunk of rock salt.

    A measly 20 trials would get you p < .000001. If 100% success is too much to ask, increase the number of trials or increase the number of remedies from 2 to 3 or 4. The researcher may choose these details and choose them to maximize success. Just make 100% sure that the carrier medium doesn't change from sample to sample and everything is completely blinded until all the results are in.

    I could do this with basil and oregano myself. You'd think it would be nothing to do it with a cancer cure.

    • olavius

      The scientific journal Langmuir confirms in controlled studies that nanodoses of homeopathic medicines remain in solution even after they are diluted 1:100 6 times, 30 times, or even 200 times.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23083226

      Or try this

      1. buy two (or ten or hundred) sundew plants
      2. give the remedy ammonium carb. 6C to half the plants
      3. give placebo (or another remedy in same potency,) to the other half.
      4. Result the leaves plants given the ammonum salt will contract at once, the placebo group will not react.

      • Acleron

        Langmuir confirmed nothing, they published a paper which I suspect they regret. Langmuir is a journal of the American Chemical Society and many including Ullman have hawked that fact as marketing material.

        The ACS has released a video of their views on homeopathy.
        https://youtu.be/Lq29f14X1t0

        Darwin indeed showed that sundews react to ammonium salts. They do not react to nothing.

      • Christine Laing

        Have you (or anyone else) actually done this experiment under controlled conditions? I suppose I could try it but I’ve have to order some sundews from the Internet. 6C ammonium carb. I can get easily enough.

        • olavius

          Darwin and his sons have several times, but doubt you would call it under controlled conditions.
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2816387/
          I have also done it – not in a lab though, but if you have the facilities why not do it – and then claim the million bucks JREF award in the process.

          • Christine Laing

            Well if it were that easy I suppose someone would have taken the million by now.

            So far as I can piece together Darwin’s dilutions were on the order of 1:20,000,000 (give or take a factor of 10 or so) which is far short of 6C (1:1,000,000,000,000). The experiment also does not appear to have been blinded or controlled so it’s a bit unclear if there was bias. For example, maybe he was just dripping water on the things and they reacted, or maybe there was some residual salt on the plant which triggered a secondary reaction. So it is not at all clear that Darwin did my experiment, which is 20 double blinded trials. For this one I would also require 20 sundews because of the possibility of residual salts on the plants.

          • olavius

            You are right about the potencies, Darwin used a much lower potency than me, but still the leaves of the plant reacted to the higher potency. The leaves of the plant will not react to plain water. If you carry out the experiment the leaves will react at once to the remedy. It has to be fresh leaves and they are open to begin with (waiting for an insect to come by) so I dont think you need to consider residuals.
            In a lab with 20 fresh plants, one bottle of the remedy and one bottle of placebo, two persons (one giving the remedy or the placebo to another test person not knowing what he/she gives). This will not prove homeopathy works off course, but it will confirm there is SOMETHING in the remedy making the leaves of the plant react.
            Just for the record. I have already submitted above to the JREF foundation for the million bucks award, but my suggestion as not admitted. I doubt their sincerity.

          • Oh! Please publish your submission and their reply…

          • olavius

            You dont think I have written to the JREF foundation and received a reply is that it?

            Maybe if you answer my simple question I will publish.

            Is it correct that a homeopathic remedy in a 6X potency contains millions of molecules of the starting substance? Yes or no.

          • olavius said:

            “You dont think I have written to the JREF foundation and received a reply is that it?”

            I have no idea whether you have or not – and frankly, it’s of little interest to me.

            As for your question, you have not provided sufficient information for a decent answer. I’ve given you several clues, but let me know if you need me to spell it out for you.

          • Mark Mattingly

            I used to teach science and every student needed a project. Too bad I’m not teaching now, I could have added it to my collection of science fair projects.

          • Christine Laing

            Usually the JREF turns down requests because they are poorly written or because the proposer has not provided evidence that they have done this before. The JREF no longer accepts submissions which do not appear to be serious.
            My suggestion would be to get your 20 sundews and contact a local skeptics group associated with one of the larger organizations like CSI. Most of these groups will happily help you set the experiment up with proper controls.
            If you pass the test the JREF will consider your application.
            As for the sundew, it clearly reacts to touch, as fruit flies do not generally have salts of ammonia on their feet. It seems to me quite reasonable that a sundew might curl in response to a water drop if it were applied just right.

          • olavius

            What an excellent idea for the next skeptics meeting. Today we are going to prove homeopathy works. I cant see that happening – can you?
            Trust me the plant will not react to a water drop – only to the remedy. But go on try for yourself.

          • Christine Laing

            That’s just it olavius. I don’t trust you. I trust the laws of chemistry more.
            It would be a pain to set up a few dozen sundews (they die a lot) and a pain to get a dilution of salts that everyone agreed was not contaminated. But if I truly believed it would work I would do it in a heartbeat! I don’t understand why you haven’t done it if you truly believe it works.

          • olavius

            I dont care if you trust me – you can get the sundews at almost any garden center these days and you could start with just a couple of plants – and the remedy can be ordered online. I was curious myself so I went and did my own experiment. It worked, but only as long as the plant was fresh.

          • Acleron

            Which sundew did you use? The garden centre varieties are usually the tropical D. capensis.

            Using a bought product from a homeopathy shop is fraught with problems, best to prepare the dilutions under controlled conditions and obviously the control must be prepared at the same time under identical conditions.

          • Christine Laing

            I disagree. Two plants are not enough to run the test, and your statement that the plant needs to be “fresh” is equivalent to saying it did not work. You need to buy at least 10 plants, establish that they are already “fresh” then double blind the test. You have not done the experiment, and what you did do indicates to me that it will not work.

          • Mike Stevens

            Just contact the JREF.
            They will assist you in setting up the controlled trial under proper test conditions, in fact they will insist on it.
            Can I have 1% of the $1 million for that tip?

          • Acleron

            You should prepare your own dilutions with deionised water, ammonia survives distillation and is a pain to deal with when using a sensitive test for nitrogenous materials.

          • Christine Laing

            See, this is the sort of reason I don’t try it myself. That and wrangling three dozen sundews. If olavius is serious, he needs to go to a local skeptics org and get help from people like you. Myself, I was convinced to try remedies a long time ago for some serious health problems, and they did not work. The fact that conventional medicine was failing me did not suddenly make magic a better choice.

  • David N. Andrews MEd, CPSE

    ‘There was clear evidence that studies with better methodological quality tended to yield less positive results.’

    I’ve seen this phenomenon also occurring in research on facilitated communication: the the more meticulous the study, in terms of controls and rigour, the less favourable the results were towards FC.

    • Egger

      Oh really? From Mathie, 2015:

      -Unlike our predecessors, we found no evidence that lower- quality trials displayed a larger treatment effect than that of higher-quality studies-

      • Acleron

        Mathie had no high quality trials, he says so in his conclusions.

        • Indeed. He called the three he considered the best to be ‘reliable evidence’ yet one was self-described as a pilot study, one was ‘preliminary’ and all three were small (n=81, 75 and 62). It’s difficult to see how an impartial observer could find that to be compelling…

        • Egger

          Can you discriminate the apples and pencils in kinder? Can you discriminate the risk of bias of the quality?

          —Unlike our predecessors, we found no evidence that lower- quality trials displayed a larger treatment effect than that of higher-quality studies : indeed, our ten ‘C’- rated trials with extractable data displayed a non-significant pooled effects estimate

          • Acleron

            Yeah, yeah, Mathie says a lot which is uncritically swallowed by ignorant homeopaths but as from his own data he had no high quality trials that can be shown to be a silly statement.

            I don’t suppose you noticed he used a very non standard selection procedure that managed to exclude at least one high quality trial that would have negated his results.

  • olavius

    For the record. Edzard Ernst admits in his former article that homeopathy works:

    “So, there you have it: the most ‘notorious’ critic of homeopathy has shown that a homeopathic remedy is clearly superior to placebo in normalising important objective signs as well as subjective symptoms of varicose veins”.
    https://health.spectator.co.uk/homeopathy-trials-can-be-positive-the-reason-why-is-bad-news-for-homeopaths/

    • Acleron

      When you read the whole article, it is clear that Ernst was using a high dose product and that Ernst was being sarcastic in the above quote. Despite questioning of the homeopaths in the comments, none was able to say why this product was not a herbal product.

      The main argument of homeopaths that their products should not be subject to safety tests and quality assurance is that they are safe because there is nothing in them. To try to argue that they work because you can point to a study of product that does contain something is disingenuous.

      • Egger

        Oh dear. You are a liar and trol of JREF.

        Now, the historical review, again the same cite

        –A homeopathic medicinal product (at any potency level) is clearly and unequivocally defined as a product that has been prepared in accordance with a homeopathic manufacturing procedure as defined by the European Pharmacopoeia or recognised national homeopathic pharmacopoeias–

        • Acleron

          So you still cannot point to any difference between high dose homeopathic products and herbal products.

        • Acleron

          And again, you fail to show any difference between a herbal and a high dose preparation.

      • Egger

        HA HA HA HA :

        Ernst idioticy in 2010: “First, about Vertigoheel, this is not even a homeopathic product; this is homotoxicological, which strictly speaking is not homeopathic. This may be too technical. I would
        argue…. If one defines homeopathy as curing like with like, the homotoxicological treatments are not homeopathic—that is the point I was trying to make”

        Ernst idioticy in 2016: “sorry, I was unclear: “Such low potencies are rarely used by homeopaths and should be called PSEUDO-HOMEOPATHIC, in my view.” I meant that because they are low potencies and because the typical potency is high, I suggest to call them pseudo-homeopathic.
        I did not [mean to] say that, because they are rarely used, that should be called pseudo-homeopathic. and I also added IN MY VIEW. don’t you allow mw to have my views?

        WoW, in the personal vision of Ernst, the low potencies does not exists!!!!!!

        Now, the facts:

        Homeopathy is not homogeneous system of medicine. From the facts of history:

        “Lower potencies are more often used for over-the-counter (OTC) for self-care, either as single
        substances or in combination products”

        Fisher response: ” If I could just comment, firstly, on Vertigoheel; it is actually registered as a
        homeopathic product in Germany and prepared according to the HAB, the Homeopathische Arzneibuch, which is the German Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia.”

        • Acleron

          Until you demonstrate any difference between high dose homeopathic preparations and herbal extracts I will be clearer than Ernst, they are not even pseudohomeopathic but merely herbal.

          I noticed that among your many ramblings you mention succussion, even if this was carried out it would make no difference but the reality is that at least one major manufacturer of homeopathic material uses the Korsakovian method and employ vortex mixers. So like everything else in homeopathy succussion is a myth.

  • olavius
    • Acleron

      In this area, scientific evidence has to have adequate study design, the data has to be reliable, it has to be published in a form that allows scrutiny of both the study design and results so that it can be and is repeated by others.

      Your first ref is a ‘metastudy’ by Mathie. One of its conclusions is

      “The overall quality of the evidence was low or unclear, preventing decisive conclusions.”

      • And that’s ignoring all the (many) other problems with Mathie et al.

        • olavius

          But in an earlier discussion you admitted there was evidence for homeopathy quoting above Mathie studys conclusion:

          There was a small, statistically significant, treatment effect of individualised homeopathic treatment that was robust to sensitivity analysis based on ‘reliable evidence’.

          • I believe I would have cited what Mathie’s conclusions were whilst pointing out its (many) flaws.

  • I have a bit of helpful advice for homeopathy fans. It’s very obvious that the clinical research is never going to provide the proof they crave, because it can’t: P=0.05 by definition allows for any positive result to be false, and in any case this measure is predicated on a plausible mechanism of action. Ioannidis has documented the problem with using such measures where the intervention is implausible.

    So, you need to go back to first principles.

    1. Provide robust evidence that symptomatic similarity is a valid starting point when assessing the curative properties of a substance. Hahnemann’s original conjecture was based on a single data pint – cinchona – and we have known for over a century that he was wrong about that. The discovery of plasmodium falciparum refuted that claim. So a new and compelling piece of work is required to establish that like does indeed cure like as a general or at least common principle.

    2. Identify the property of matter by which this cure operates. Hahnemann’s idea was that medicine was “allopathy” – restoring the balance of humours by opposing the imbalance. Medicine discarded humours a very long time ago and modern medicine uses a range of treatments with a huge variety of different mechanisms of action. Some drugs prevent bacteria from dividing, some use hormones to stimulate natural processes, some replace compounds in which the body is found to be deficient and so on. So you need to demonstrate how it might work, because then you have to move on to…

    3. Show that thus property of matter behaves in a manner consistent with hepatic claims. That is, it must reverse the effect of higher doses, and this reversal must be near universal (as opposed to, say, hormesis, which is rare). It has to be objectively tdemonstrated to persist through near infinite dilution (as opposed to, say, hormesis, where dose response returns to exponential decay below the narrow band of inflexion), it has to be shown to be persistent (noise water memory, which lasts picoseconds if that). Finally,

    4. Show that this property can be delivered to the body with testable availability through the intermediary if the sugar pillule. Bioavailability is, in the end, the critical factor.

    So: prove that like does indeed cure like, prove that the means by which this happens can be objectively demonstrated as homeopathic nostrums are prepared and administered, and you will have the basis of a conversation.

    Until then, there is no reason to suppose homeopathy should work, no way it can work, and no proof it does work.

    • Mike Stevens

      Make mine a data “pint” of Cinchona, Guy.
      Your round, I think.
      Damn, these Mexican beers are tasty.

    • Egger

      1. “Hahnemann’s original conjecture was based on a single data pint – cinchona – and we have known for over a century that he was wrong about that.”

      Oh dear. Hahnemann principles was repeated in familiars, friends and medical doctors in all countries around the world.

      2. “s. Hahnemann’s idea was that medicine was “allopathy” – restoring the balance of humours by opposing the imbalance”

      Wrong. Hahnemann reject the humoral theory.

      3. “That is, it must reverse the effect of higher doses, and this reversal must be near universal (as opposed to, say, hormesis, which is rare).”

      Hormesis rare? From Calabresse: http://embor.embopress.org/content/5/1S/S37

      -Our activities have shown that hormetic dose responses are more common than the traditional toxicological threshold model, can be generalized well by model-

      4. “Show that this property can be delivered to the body with testable availability through the intermediary if the sugar pillule”

      Oh dear…

      http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FB%3AJTAN.0000027178.11665.8f

      • Nice example of misdirection and arm-waving.

        I do think you should read up on hormesis though – whether it is rare (as most scientists currently think) or only uncommon (as that paper suggests) is not relevant because hormesis refutes homeopathy. Homeopathy is predicated on curative effect being conferred and strengthened by dilution, but hormesis is a temporary inflexion of the dose response curve at levels which are still pharmacologically active; below the narrow band of inflexion, dose response returns to exponential decay.

        It’s quite remarkable how consistent homeopathists are in highlighting minor elements of scientific work that fit with their worldview, while ignoring large chunks of the same science that show their worldview to be wrong.

        The link from Elia and Niccoli is a gem of its kind. Notice how careful they are to avoid any mention of homeopathy, in order to fly it under the radar. Mentioning homeopathy will ensure an editor checks the document rather more carefully. Iris Bell has perfected this art, moving from journal to journal as each successive editor realises they’ve been had. That paper shows no evidence of bioavailability, which was the specific point I made.

        Here’s a condensed summary of the chain that has to be proven:

        1. Prove that like cures like.
        2. Prove that this is general for multiple classes of material.
        3. Prove that the property by which it works, persists through indefinite serial dilution.
        4. Prove that it persists when dropped on a sugar pill and the solvent evaporated.
        5. Prove that it survives the enzymes of the mouth and crosses into the bloodstream.
        6. Prove that this results in bioavailability of the property at the affected site in the body.

        Not one of these has anything like persuasive evidence at this point. Papers like the Elias one are akin to trying to prove you have a house by displaying a picture of one brick.

        • 4a. How the drop of water dropped onto the sugar pellets at the top of a tube transfers its magic to the sugar pellets at the bottom of the tube.

        • Egger

          ” or only uncommon (as that paper suggests) is not relevant because hormesis refutes homeopathy.”

          Really? Are you a cheat?

          “Hippocrates, Paracelsus, Amdt, Schulz, and Hahnemann (founder of homeopathy) have all reported that low doses of toxic substances may be “stimulatory” or otherwise beneficia” (Boxenbaum).

          “Hahnemann, a german physician, observed biphasic dose-time-response effect of various susbstances” (Merizalde).

          “Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843) included the concept of hormesis among the basic tenets in his perspectives of homeopathic medicine” (Harry Salem, Editor in Chief of Journal of Applied Toxicology).

          Hormesis definition: 1) “a process in which exposure to a low dose of a chemical agent or environmental factor that is damaging at higher doses induces an adaptive beneficial effect on the cell or organism” (Mattson). 2) “A phenomenon characterized by low dose stimulation, high dose inhibition of a biological system exposed to toxins and other stressors, resulting in an inverted U-shaped dose response curve” (Bellavite) 3) “Homeopathic effects have been studied by Bellavite et al. They consider that there is a basic principle in common here, while claiming that where a biologically active substance induces a series of symptoms, it would also be possible at low doses to cure these symptoms.” (Gurevich).

          “These papers were a powerful confirmation of the threshold dose response in toxicology research and provided a universal scientific framework to evaluate the broad spectrum of dose responses, independent of biological model, endpoint measured and chemical or physical stressor.” (Calabrese).

          In overview: “The phenomenon of hormesis is characterized by the biphasic response to particular doses of stres… With respect to the conceptual relationship between postconditioning hormesis and the homeopathic Similia principle, it is emphasized that the Similia principle is a particular application of postconditioning hormesis.” (Van Wijk).

        • Egger

          “but hormesis is a temporary inflexion of the dose response curve at levels which are still pharmacologically active”

          More homeopathic potencies are low potency. What is a low potency? Is a material range of doses.

        • Egger

          “The link from Elia and Niccoli is a gem of its kind. Notice how careful they are to avoid any mention of homeopathy, in order to fly it under the radar. Mentioning homeopathy will ensure an editor checks the document rather more carefully. “

          Sorry, you libel is false. In the abstract of Elia paper:

          Keywords: Conductivity · Succussion · Age of solutions · Homeopathy · Dissipative structures · Water

          Chapman, you are a fool.

          “Iris Bell has perfected this art, moving from journal to journal as each successive editor realises they’ve been had. That paper shows no evidence of bioavailability, which was the specific point I made.”

          Really? An example:

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26369009

          In abstract:

          The word homeopathicaly appear five times.
          Homeopathic 3 times
          Homeopathy 1

          Chapman, are you kidding me?

        • Egger

          “1. Prove that like cures like.”

          Oh dear… http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20558607

          “2. Prove that this is general for multiple classes of material.

          Can you read the Calabrese thesis?

          “3. Prove that the property by which it works, persists through indefinite serial dilution.”

          Oh dear… http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/15368378.2015.1036072

          “4. Prove that it persists when dropped on a sugar pill and the solvent evaporated.

          Oh dear… http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167732215303585

          “5. Prove that it survives the enzymes of the mouth and crosses into the bloodstream.
          “6. Prove that this results in bioavailability of the property at the affected site in the body.”

          Oh dear… http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306452213007094

          From the paper:

          —Bioavailability and biological activity of nano-forms of any material in general and specifically of cocc 30c, suggest its therapeutic potential intriguing, as CNS access across the blood–brain barrier is readily possible for the small sized nanoparticles that were already shown present in homeopathic medicine—

    • Egger

      “So: prove that like does indeed cure like, prove that the means by which this happens can be objectively demonstrated as homeopathic nostrums are prepared and administered, and you will have the basis of a conversation.”

      Who are you, the medical schools? HA HA HA HA HA

      • I am a person who requires that claims are backed by evidence. Feel free to supply the proof that like cures like.

        • Egger

          Again. Are you the representant of all academies around the world?
          No. Try again.

  • I think we need to engage even more with the public regarding what is (a) rational evidence, (b) what is belief (c) what is being in a state of denial (i.e knowing but not believing what you know) and (d) facilitating belief at the expense of the facts.

    • Acleron

      I’m all for having a better standard of education and your points should be central to the imparting of facts.

      Homeopaths may suffer deficiencies in these regards but others are fraudulent liars.

      A favoured quote of Alan Henness is
      “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Upton Sinclair

      This is close to what happens but I’d change it slightly.

      It is difficult to get someone to admit to an understanding when their salary depends on not admitting it.

      How can we resolve this issue?

      Certainly by allowing the ASA to heavily police the advertisements of homeopaths but a few prosecutions would be helpful. Stronger regulation of their products in the areas of efficacy, safety, package inserts and manufacturing quality control would make it a less lucrative trade.

  • louise40

    No one is angry and no one cares what you think. We just carry on using homeopathic medicines, which work so brilliantly well and feel sorry for those of you who don’t and are missing out.

    • louise40 said:

      “No one is angry and no one cares what you think. We just carry on using homeopathic medicines, which work so brilliantly well and feel sorry for those of you who don’t and are missing out.”

      Thus spake a homeopath with no regard for her customers.

  • Mike Stevens

    The juxtaposition of these bits of information about Hahn broke my irony meter:

    “He has, along with his wife, authored at least three books on spiritual matters with titles such as (my translations) Clear Replies From the Spiritual World and Connections of Souls.
    He has a serious issue with sceptics and goes on at length about how they are dishonest bluffers who wilfully cherry-pick and misinterpret evidence to fit their preconceived beliefs.”

    • Acleron

      It is a peculiar case. He has authored several scientific papers and appears a respectable clinician. Then we have this nonsense which shows little academic rigor and even less logic.

      Should we question his previous work? Or perhaps he is like Georges Lemaître who discovered the solutions to Einstein’s equations that predicted the Big Bang but was also a catholic priest. Lemaître claimed that he could compartmentalise his mind so the irrational and rational never met. Hahn is more of a problem, when he holds forth on medicine, is he being rational or irrational?

      • Egger

        “Then we have this nonsense which shows little academic rigor and even less logic.”

        Really? This your pseudodebunking? LOL!

        • Acleron

          Read Ernst’s article.

          • Egger

            I’ve read. Can you understand the contradictions of Ernst discourse?

          • Acleron

            You have shown no understanding of almost anything, why should I pay attention to something that probably doesn’t exist?

    • Egger

      Oh dear, yout ad-hominem fallacy is a teathrical pseudo skepticism.

      • Mike Stevens

        You don’t know what an “ad hominem” fallacy is, do you?

        • Egger

          Ad-Mike S is a new subtype of ad-hominem fallacy. Do you know?

  • Hey, hey, don’t you know that even conventionally-trained doctors recommend homeopathy? Every doctor I’ve ever met has recommended drinking at least two liters of homeopathic medicine every day!