A chance for homeopathy

There is a chance that homeopathy might work. It’s a small chance. In fact, it’s so small that it’s at least as dilute as the remedies “practitioners” use.

The odds of finding a single particle of sulfur in homeopathic “sulfur” are a staggering 6 x 1023 to 1. That’s “6-with-23-zeroes-after-it” to 1 against:

600,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 to 1 against.

Even the national lottery with 6 numbers 1-49 doesn’t represent odds as long as that at a mere 14 million to one against.

Some people argue that it works through the almighty placebo effect. Yes, well…maybe there is a touch of that, but, and I quote the 10:23 campaign, here: “Homeopathy has abused its placebo privileges”.

From time to time, it’s understandable that a simple-to-administer placebo treatment might carry some benefit for doctors, where no medical intervention has a particular, proven effectiveness. In these scenarios, it could be argued that homeopathy might have had a role to play, providing a harm-free, effect-free placebo to help manage the otherwise unmanageable. However, due to the abuse of the legitimacy leant to homeopathy by real medicine, this treatment has stopped being harm-free – it wastes money and time, and can discourage people from getting genuine medical help when they most need it. It’s time to stop giving support to the ineffective and illogical quackery that is homeopathy, and time to give people the facts to evaluate its use before they choose to rely on Hahnemann’s 200-year-old theories over the up-to-date, constantly-improving medical practices of today’s world.

Did you know that part of the preparation process for homeopathic remedies, dating back to Hahnemann’s original bullshine recipe is supposed to involve bashing the glass vial against a Bible. What does that tell you, eh? To paraphrase a question asked by comedians Tim Minchin and Dara O’Briain, who both have a well-tuned scientific sensibility: Do you know what they call alternative medicine that is proven to work? Medicine! And, of course, if someone does genuinely demonstrate irrefutable efficacy for homeopathy it will be quickly added to the standard medical textbooks in the same way that remedies with a natural or herbal origin, such as aspirin and artemisinin, are. (Incidentally, homeopathy and herbal are not synonymous).

So is there a chance for homeopathy? Yeah, it’s
W00-W000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 in a million, million, million, million.

Research Blogging IconErnst, E. (2010). Homeopathy, a “helpful placebo” or an unethical intervention? Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 31 (1), 1-1 DOI: 10.1016/j.tips.2009.10.005