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156 thoughts on “Homeopathy and Evidence-Based Medicine: Back to the Future Part IV

  1. BlazingDragon says:

    Been busy at work for a couple of days, so just catching up.

    Water cannot have any kind of memory. The protons on each individual water molecule are rapidly exchanging with one another. If one takes “heavy” water (D2O) and places it in H2O, within a few minutes, one has only the slightest traces of D2O and mostly HOD. The percentage of H2O, HOD, and D2O are easily calculated using statistics (depends on the initial ratio of D2O to H2O).

    Also, water is constantly metabolized and turned into oxygen by plants, and then oxygen is metabolized by animals (and plants) to give CO2 and H2O, the hydrogen having come from different water molecules than those that were originally attached to the H2O that was used to generate the O2.

    Long story short, any “memory” effect of any kind that isn’t magical would be shuffled into oblivion by this exchange process. Not that this chemistry lesson will have any effect on the “true believers,” but as a chemist, it bugs me when I see people so badly mis-use and mis-understand my profession.

  2. DanaUllman says:

    It is so fascinating watching people who seem to know little about homeopathy make fun of it as though knocking down a straw man has some meaning. In due respect, homeopathic medicines are actually not “small” doses, any more than an atomic bomb is a small dose or an enzymatic reaction has just one effect.

    Have any of you investigated the field of hormesis…and its several thousands studies from dozens of scientific specialties. All of these studies investigate the astonishing power of extremely small doses of certain substances on certain systems. Although this research doesn’t use the same degree of potentization that is used in some homeopathic medicines, the VAST majority of homeopathic medicines sold in health food stores and pharmacies today use doses in the range in which the scientists studying hormesis use.

    When skeptics say that homeopathic medicines are just water, you can now see what nonsense this is. Does anyone out there finally get this important fact?

    As for those doses that are beyond Avogadro’s number, saying that these doses are just water ignores the influence of vigorous shaking of the water…which is known to create bubbles and “nano-bubbles” that change the pressure in the water making it similar to water pressure at 10,000 feet altitude.

    Now, hold that fact in mind, and now, learn about PW Bridgman, former professor of physics at Harvard for 40+ years, who observed that water that is frozen at one altitudue “remembers” that crystalization pattern when unfrozen and frozen again at a different altitude (this was the “original” memory of water experiment).

    You skeptics have great minds. It is just too bad that you are good at dis-assemblying but not good at integrating diverse areas of scientific inquiry together…but I know that some of you are working on how to dis-assemble what I’ve just written, experiencing some cognitive dissonance in the process because I’ve just touched upon some rational stuff here.

    As Barbra is known to say, discuss amongst yourselves…

  3. PalMD says:

    Jeebus! Falling back on the succussion canard! And “hormesis”? WTF?

    Look, you obviously don’t accept the commonly understood concept of science, so why bother coming here? I mean, it’s entertaining to a certain extent to watch you so easily overcome by your intellectual betters, but why are you so masochistic?

  4. Roy Niles says:

    By the way Blazing Dragon, my last comment about talking to water was a joke. Ullman got it, but thought he was having a cognitive dissonance attack.

  5. DanaUllman says:

    Be Jeebus back at ya. If succussion is a canard, I assume that you think that the atomic bomb was a placebo because smashing atoms into each other is another canard.

    As for hormesis…is this just placebo too?

    Your rotary phone is ringing…and no one is home.

  6. Harriet Hall says:

    Hormesis requires the presence of small amounts of the substance in question; at least some homeopathic remedies are acknowledged by homeopaths not to contain a single molecule of the active ingredient. Even if hormesis could explain effects of some homeopathic remedies (which I doubt), it could not possibly explain them all. According to Wikipedia “that hormesis is common or important has not been fully established,” which I think is pretty accurate. I had a homeopath try to convince me with hormesis studies a couple of years ago, and I was seriously underwhelmed. Trying to use it to explain homeopathy is really far-fetched. Show us that homeopathy works better than placebo before you try to invoke hormesis or the memory of water to explain a phenomenon that has not been shown to exist in the first place. Oh, I forgot – you can’t do that, so you have to try to make up other stuff.

    Comparing the atomic bomb to succussion had me rolling on the floor! Thanks for the entertainment!

    And I STILL want to know how they collect eclipsed moonlight!!!

  7. DanaUllman says:

    Your short summary of hormesis is too short and an inadequate review of a large and growing body of scientific information. And I couldn’t help but notice that you ignored my reference to the fact that the majority of homeopathic medicines sold today in health food stores and pharmacies have small and detectable amounts of medicinal agents.

    Skeptics show an embarrassingly sloppy analysis by their commonly asserted statements that “homeopathy is just water.” Plain ole sloppiness, but heck, you have the right to free (and sloppy) speech.

    And your statement that shaking has no influence is more evidence of sloppiness.

    Talk to the source of the moonlight comment for that info.

    If you want to hear about weird medicines, take mold or urine from a pregnant mare, or explosives such as nitroglycerine. Medicines that are important for healing are often made out of weird stuff.

  8. Roy Niles says:

    Ever hear of the two weirds make a wright fallacy?

  9. HCN says:

    Dana, at the homeopathy debate that Dr. Novella participated in at the Univ. of Conn Andre Saine claimed that homeopathy was better at treating rabies than modern medicine. You can check it out here:
    http://mediasite.uchc.edu/Mediasite41/Viewer/Viewers/Viewer240TR.aspx?mode=Default&peid=407916ea-6301-4ede-b04f-c3650e4073a7&pid=cb4535b1-6610-4f6f-9c47-89f4114476ec&playerType=WM64Lite

    Can you please give us the evidence that homeopathy is a better treatment for rabies than those of modern medicine (which were refined from methods created by Pasteur)? Just give us the studies that show homeopathy worked better at preventing and treating rabies.

    You do have links to the papers outlining how successful homeopathy is with rabies, right? Something in the past decade would be nice (as opposed to over a century ago).

    Also, while you are at it, could you tell us what other non-self limiting conditions have been shown to respond better with homeopathy than modern medicine? Make sure to link to the PubMed studies so that we can read them at our local medical library in full.

    Be sure that they are studies that have better balanced groups than the Chest study you keep touting. You know the one, the one where the Austrians who were sicker were put in the placebo group, while the healthier ones were given the homeopathic remedy (while all the time getting conventional treatment in a Vienna hospital… lovely place, you might want to check out the monument to the plague in the main plaza… still, we did prefer Salzberg).

    Why is it that every single time homeopathy seems to absolutely FAIL when the experiment is well designend? If a study has good blinding, homeopathy only works as well as placebo.

    Why don’t you test Andre Saine’s contention that homeopathy works better than modern medicine for rabies? Take some nice fluffy bunnies, infect them ALL with rabies (I’m sure you can find a Univ. of Cal. or Cal. State Univ. somewhere between Santa Barbara and Eureka with that particular microbe). Then treat half with your very special just for bunnies with rabies homeopathic remedy, and the other with sugar water. Make sure you don’t know which got what (double blinding!)… and see how many live. Compare the results. If homeopathy cured the cute fluffy bunnies of rabies you can shout to the world. If not, then write it up anyway and reveal the truth to the world.

  10. DanaUllman says:

    Andre Saine’s forthcoming book, The Weight of Evidence, will probably provide us all with this evidence about rabies.

    Your comments on the CHEST study are predictable and inadequate. There were minor and unstatisically significant difference between the treatment and control groups, while there was SUBSTANTIAL difference in their results…in the tracheal discharge, the extubation rates, and length of hospitalization (reduced by almost 50%). Just look at the statistics and you’ll see that all (except 1!) of the homeopathic patients experienced a significant improvement in health…in COPD (a very serious non-self-limiting condition).

    One important study published in PEDIATRICS (1994) by Jennifer Jacobs on the homeopathic treatment of childhood diarrhea found that individually chosen homeopathic medicines, used in conjunction with oral rehydration therapy, experienced more rapid improvement in their health than those given ORT and a placebo (children with diarrhea related to a known pathogen had better results than those who were not similarly infected). Here is where good simple medicine AND homeopathy worked together. Fab.

    A meta-analysis of 3 DBPC studies was published in Pediatrics Infectious Disease Journal.

    Most studies in homeopathy compare it with placebo, though there have been some comparison studies with conventional drugs. Some that come to mind are in the treatment of:

    – vertigo — published in an AMA journal:

    http://archotol.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/124/8/879

    – WEISER M,GEGENHEIMER LH,KLEIN P. A randomized equivalence trial comparing the efficacy and safety of Luffa comp. -Heel nasal spray with Cromolyn sodium spray in the treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis. Forsch Komplementarmed 1999;6:142-148

    – FRIESE KH, KRUSE S, LUDTKE R, MOELLER H The homoeopathic treatment of otitis media in children – comparisons with conventional therapy Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther 1997;35(7):296-301 (Originally published in German in Hals-Nasen-Ohren (Head, Nose, and Otolyngarology, August, 1996:462-66).
    This study of 131 children allowed parents to choose homeopathic or conventional medical care from their ear, nose, and throat doctor. 103 children underwent homeopathic treatment, while 28 underwent conventional care. They found that the total recurrences of the homeopathic treated group was .41 per patient, while the antibiotic treatment group was .70 per patient. Of the “homeopathic” children who did have another earache, 29.3% had a maximum of three recurrences, while 43.5% of the “antibiotic” children had a maximum of six recurrences.

    – NAHLER G, METELMANN H, SPERBER H Treating osteoarthritis of the knee with a homeopathic preparation – Results of a randomized, controlled, clinical trial in comparison to hyaluronic acid. Biomedical Therapy 1998;16(2):186-191.

    – SHEALY CN,THOMLINSON RP,COX RH,BORGMEYER RN. Alternative medicine. Osteoarthritic pain: a comparison of homeopathy and acetaminophen American Journal of Pain Management 1998;8:89-91. (Referenced here by Ernst:
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B8CWK-4MDGN93-8&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=8994250f70cd315c53e88f493892d67f

  11. DanaUllman says:

    By the way, as you all think about and review the above research, I hope that some of you will also think about the real wisdom and logic of the homeopathic principle of similars. If symptoms are adaptations and responses of the body to infection, exposure, and/or stress, it makes sense to avoid pharmacological agents that arbitrarily inhibit or suppress this defensive response. Is it any wonder that certain drugs are effective because they are success in suppressing a symptom and later result in a more serious chronic disease?

    Instead, it makes sense to mimic the body’s wisdom.

    Homeopaths have simply found over the past 200+ years that sick people become hypersensitive to a substance that has been found, according to basic toxicology texts and research, to cause the similar SYNDROME of symptoms that the sick person is experiencing.

    Consider this…a better term for “similars” is RESONANCE. Basic phyics teaches us that there is hypersensitivity with resonance.

    I know that this is beginning to make sense to some of you. Does anyone out there what to come out of the “medicine closet” and express some type of interest? Let’s consider moving beyond skepticism to simple curiousity. Is anyone just curious out there?

  12. Roy Niles says:

    We need to move beyond the curiosity of simpletons.

  13. BlazingDragon says:

    Gee, no comment from Dana Ullman about hydrogen atom exchange obliterating any possible water “memory” effect. The funny thing is, one can use magnetic resonance to track the distribution of deuterium (heavy hydrogen) when it is dispersed in good ol’ H2O. Now that I think about it though, he’ll probably just claim the magnets cause the exchange of deuterium for proton or some other such nonsense.

    It’d be better in the future to let the Dana Ullman’s of the world just blabber and not try to address their claims. One cannot argue with someone who will take every damned little inconsistency and blow it up into a huge mess that invalidates all of modern science. One also cannot argue with someone who simply refuses to believe basic science and claims (despite mountains of evidence to the contrary) that the science is wrong and he/she is right.

    One cannot use logic and reason to persuade someone who arrived at their opinion by illogical means. I’m done even trying to respond to such ridiculous claims.

  14. Roy Niles says:

    You need to understand that Ullman is a professional advocate for a fraudulent and essentially criminal enterprise. Everything he says is with an eye to preempting some anticipated civil or criminal charge and forestalling legislation that might put this huge blood-sucking operation out of business.

    He didn’t arrive at his positions by logic, he glommed onto those odd positions as would an ape climbing a money-tree.

    He’s laying down a record to bolster an eventual “I’m not a crook, I’m an idiot” defense. That works best of course when you are both a crook AND an idiot.

  15. BlazingDragon says:

    Roy Niles… I guess sarcasm doesn’t come across well in written form :> One cannot reach such people using logic and reason because they are either very deluded, dishonest, or both.

  16. DanaUllman says:

    It is sad that you resort to name-calling and generalizations to the max. And your remarks about money are the most ironic (actually, you’ve got “high potency chutzpah” going on here). Whenever one compares the money made by allopaths and homeopaths or Big Pharma and homeopathic companies, it becomes obvious that few (very few) people get involved in homeopathy for the money.

    Callling names…What a clever but intellectually weak way to ignore controlled clinical trials, basic science research, and 200 years of mountains of empirical evidence of people who rely upon homeopathy for their entire health care (a recent issue of the Lancet estimated that 100 million Indians rely entirely upon homeopathy)…

    I challenge any clinician to try to practice for just two days prescribe blank sugar pills without many of their patients calling them late at night and expressing serious concerns that their medicines are not working.

  17. Roy Niles says:

    I suppose it’s only fair that when pointing out that an enterprise is devoted to fraud, one should search for any exceptions so that we recognize that such a statement may be only generally true.

  18. pmoran says:

    Ullman: ” I challenge any clinician to try to practice for just two days prescribe blank sugar pills without many of their patients calling them late at night and expressing serious concerns that their medicines are not working.”

    Well, that would not be wise when the clientele may have acute appendicitis, a heart attack, serious infection, or all the other conditions that are known NOT to be placebo responsive.

    The homeopath can do it, though. Patients protect them by not expecting of them quite the same range of therapeutic and diagnostic chores. The Western homeopath can even determine for himself what level of clinical responsibility he will accept. This is the true meaning of “complementary” and “integrative” medicine.

    As you may have observed, I personally am not necessarily denying these a place in medicine, because I think they probably can help patients in some ways. But let’s not pretend within scientific discussions that the *method* is anything other than placebo. It is the nurturing human contact that counts.

  19. Roy Niles says:

    I’m afraid that to regard homeopathy as an industry devoted to nurturing humans through a complicated process of benign deception would be a bit hard to conceptualize.

  20. DanaUllman says:

    Roy,
    Please let me know if you and anyone close to you has actually sought treatment from a professional homeopath or if all of your information is from your armchair philosophizing.
    Because of your scientific training, please also let me know if you have read the various articles/studies published by V. Elia, a professor of chemistry, whose work has been published in the NY Academy of Sciences and various chemistry journals.
    Let me know if you’ve read the animal and human trials on the use of homeopathic arsenic to help reduce the toxic overload symptoms from exposure to crude doses of this poison.
    Your hyper-emotional and venomous words suggest an unscientific attitude, which is a tad ironic, eh?

  21. Roy Niles says:

    Irony: A gap or incongruity between what a speaker or a writer says and what is generally understood (either at the time, or in the later context of history). Irony may also arise from a discordance between acts and results.

    Homeopathy is in that sense irony incarnate.

    Irony personified: A self-professed advocate of science not caring that it’s a logical process devoted to determining the highly probable if he can better “use” it as a method for cloaking the virtually impossible in the guise of the remotely possible.

    As to my own professional practice, I use a variety of logical and, yes, empirical strategies to dissect the inner workings of fraudulent enterprises and the psychopaths that inhabit them.

    With regard to emotions, your mistake as an advocate of quackery is to let the advocates of science get under your skin. That’s where the dissection is accelerated.

  22. DanaUllman says:

    Under MY skin?

    And please learn some medical history. You really would learn a thing about your own school of thought in medicine by learning about the interactions that have taken place during the past 200 years. My newest book is 378 pages of such history, with 50 or so references per chapter. You actually might learn a thing or two.

    “The Homeopathic Revolution” — http://www.HomeopathicRevolution.com

    When you consider that 30-40% of French doctors and 20% of German doctors, and many countries with significant numbers of physicians and other health professionals who have found value in homeopathic medicines. And YOU are telling me that you have never tried homeopathy, but you THINK that it cannot work. Where is the scientist in you? Get out of your arm-chair and walk.

    I hope that someone other than you and I are reading this because the record of this conversation shows one side giving specific references to research and the other just thinking that he’s right.

    Please consider taking a breath and doing some reading, and then, let’s talk again…

  23. Roy Niles says:

    The record only shows one side is promoting quackery and the other is promoting the views of the real scientists here whose questions you cannot truthfully respond to.

    They have nothing to hide. You do nothing BUT hide.

  24. Harriet Hall says:

    The argument that you shouldn’t judge a treatment unless you have tried it is fallacious. I certainly don’t need to have experienced an appendectomy to know that it works; and I don’t need to have my humours adjusted by bloodletting to know that doesn’t work.

    There is good reason NOT to try things like homeopathy. It would be very easy to be fooled by personal experience. You might take a homeopathic remedy and your symptoms might resolve for some other reason and you might erroneously give homeopathy the credit. A great example of that is a man I know who ALMOST went to a chiropractor. He made an appointment for a Monday, and over the weekend his long-term back pain vanished never to return. He realized that if his appointment had been for the preceding Friday, he would have been forever convinced that chiropractic had cured him, and would have spent the rest of his life getting chiropractic maintenance adjustments.

  25. Roy Niles says:

    Dana (we are now on a first name basis) wrote: “And YOU are telling me that you have never tried homeopathy, but you THINK that it cannot work.”
    Actually I neither told him I had tried it or not tried it. And never said I think it cannot work – that implies I merely have doubts. What I have no doubts about is I cannot trust any product of a fraudulent enterprise, no matter how harmless any one product may have intentionally been made to be.
    There is just too much evidence that Dana and the enterprise he represents have violated the public’s trust (aka: the public trust) and the burden is on him to prove otherwise.
    The question of why he should be trusted goes much deeper than why he seems to be wrong on this or that bit of information. The assumption should not be he’s simply ignorant, when all the signs are that this ignorance is deliberate.

  26. fls says:

    Roy Niles,

    The struggle is to demonstrate to each new audience that the ignorance is deliberate, which includes demonstrating that the bits of information are wrong.

    You seem to have useful insights. Any other ideas?

    Linda

  27. Roy Niles says:

    Linda: For one thing, every time this guy, or others like him, post, remind yourselves that their intent is to mimic trustworthiness, and all responses should be made with that in mind.

    You might also compile a list of cases where homeopathy has clearly caused harm, which will be a harder task, because essentially what it normally does is fail to cause good. But any cases that can be documented where the failure to cause good was clearly predictable might go a long way toward demonstrating that deliberate ignorance is the modus operandi here.

    Look for what’s behind the mask in everything there people write or do, and pull off that mask as the first order of business.

    You have otherwise done a much better job than I could ever do in proving those bits of information wrong that the mask is essentially made of. (Awkward sentence, but it’s early Sunday morning here.)

  28. DanaUllman says:

    I love your Catch 22, or would be it Catch 2,222?

    If I appeal to authority, you declare that is a problem. If I appeal to trustworthiness, you see suspicion. If I appeal to history, you show your ignorance of the subject. If I encourage you to try homeopathy, you express no interest in doing so. If I appeal to research, you use your own double-blind methodology of closing both your eyes.

    Good-bye…

    The irony is that you actually think that you are the rational one.

  29. Roy Niles says:

    Hypocrisy and rationality are not mutually exclusive.

  30. HCN says:

    Roy Niles said “You might also compile a list of cases where homeopathy has clearly caused harm, which will be a harder task, because essentially what it normally does is fail to cause good. But any cases that can be documented where the failure to cause good was clearly predictable might go a long way toward demonstrating that deliberate ignorance is the modus operandi here. ”

    A start here:
    http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html

  31. Roy Niles says:

    Good start! But I have to ask if these cases can be documented in such a way that any practitioner who has clearly ignored this evidence will have done so deliberately and maliciously.

  32. HCN says:

    I doubt that. The webmaster has placed some of the articles he has found on the little yellow question mark links.

    But, as we have seen with Brave Sir Dana, no amount of evidence will sway his beliefs. He keeps dragging out the same papers as proof that homeopathy works, even after they’ve been ripped apart by multiple people in multiple places (sse the links Linda posted on 2nd of February).

    Homeopathy is more of a religion than anything else. No amount of evidence will sway their faith based beliefs. Even when homeopathy fails (which is usually does for anything that is non-self limiting) the believer will either say that the homeopath did not find the proper remedy, or the victim did not really want to live. More often they tend to excuse the homeopaths incompetence as a pretend doctor, and then blame the victim, as shown here:
    http://organon.wordpress.com/2008/01/28/29-31-hahnemann%e2%80%99s-organon-of-medicine/#comment-585

  33. HCN says:

    I would like to add to illustrate the how hard it is to sway the faithful to what the reality of what homeopathy is, is to go check out Dr. Novella’s participation in this debate he wrote about here:
    http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php?p=40

    In the last few minutes of the debate (link in in that blog post) Andre Saine ranted on how homeopathy was more effective for rabies than modern medicine based on century old anecdotes. You can hear Dr. Novella discuss the discussion on that here:
    http://www.theskepticsguide.org/skepticsguide/podcastinfo.asp?pid=119

    He was asked by one homoepath supporter how many dogs cured of rabies would make him believe that homeopathy works. He turned it around and asked how many failures would make her believe it did not work.

    By the way, I’ve asked many times, but no homeopathic supporter would give me evidence that homeopathy works better for rabies than modern medicine, nor do they seem willing to test out their beliefs on fluffy little bunny rabbits.

    The only thing I saw was a future book by the insane Andre Saine.

  34. Roy Niles says:

    I think I commented on the similarity to a cult myself somewhere in this too long string. So I wouldn’t expect them to change a system in which they have vested so much interest in so many different ways.

    Certainly continuing to engage them in debate with the expectation that treating them as equally trustworthy partners in the search for truth will somehow open their eyes is not working.

    But perhaps unmasking the hidden apparatus of the “cult” for all to see, and further exposing them to of some sort of retributive justice might be more effective.

    Even the insane will try to protect themselves from an immediate threat to their survival. And the “successful psychopaths” that are over-represented in this group are even more adept at pulling in their horns.

    This reminds of the Ullman version of the famous liar’s paradox:
    “I’m not lying and therefor I can’t prove it.”

    Neither can anybody else, that’s the beauty of it..

  35. HCN says:

    I agree. The best we can do is to illustrate to many that homeopathy and herbal medicine is not the same, and to influence those who are willing to learn.

    I know that I personally thought homeopathy was akin to herbal medicine until I heard a TV news report that Bastyr ( http://www.bastyr.edu ) was going to do a large study of the effectiveness of homeopathy. That is where I learned what kind of dilutions they were talking about.

    That was in the early 1990s (when I lived down the street from where Bastyr was then located). I have looked and looked, and cannot find any papers published by Bastyr on that homeopathy study. I suspect the results did not match what they wanted to publish.

  36. DanaUllman says:

    HCN,
    Could it be that the media had misinformed you? Could it be that the media used the word “homeopathy” when they really meant something else?
    You don’t think so because you seem to think that there is a homeopathic boogeyman under every rock.
    But now that you’ve revealed that one or more of your family is a deep appreciator of homeopathy, it seems that we have you surrounded. Did you ever ask this family member any specifics about why s/he (or they) appreciate homeopathy?

  37. Mojo says:

    Dana wrote, “But now that you’ve revealed that one or more of your family is a deep appreciator of homeopathy, it seems that we have you surrounded. Did you ever ask this family member any specifics about why s/he (or they) appreciate homeopathy?”

    Perhaps they like hospital food.

  38. HCN says:

    Brave Sir Dana, you are an idiot.

    Actually, other family members are surrounding that very very ill person. She is still gravely ill, and homeopathy did absolutely nothing. And when I say gravely ill, I mean that she may not survive.

    Please realize that we are talking about real people with real illnesses where folks like you who pretend to be medical practitioners, but are only priests in a religion only make things worse.

    So in short: shut up.

  39. Roy Niles says:

    Sir Dana? Reminds me of his earlier reference to an allegedly complimentary article in Lancet. Here’s an excerpt from a less than complimentary one in the Guardian:

    “And in the extreme, when they’re not undermining public-health campaigns and leaving their patients exposed to fatal diseases, homeopaths who are not medically qualified can miss fatal diagnoses, or actively disregard them, telling their patients grandly to stop their inhalers, and throw away their heart pills. The Society of Homeopaths is holding a symposium on the treatment of Aids, featuring the work of Peter Chappell, a man who claims to have found a homeopathic solution to the epidemic. We reinforce all of this by collectively humouring homeopaths’ healer fantasies, and by allowing them to tell porkies about evidence.”

    Full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/nov/16/sciencenews.g2

  40. Roy Niles says:

    I understand the Sir Dana was a self-accepted honorific because of his nomination for a Darwin Award. As many of you may know, the Darwin Awards honor those who improve our gene pool based on who they manage to remove from it.

    The award was reportedly based on his suggestion to colleagues that any loss of life that resulted from homeopathic medication should not be a matter that weighed on whatever conscience any of them had retained since taking up the practice.

    This attitude especially applied to patients with AIDS, diabetes, and other diseases to which some might have had an inherited susceptibility. His reasoning was that if the medication “cured” them, you have a happy patient. If it didn’t, you will at least have changed the balance of the remaining gene pool for the better. A win-win situation all around.

  41. Joe says:

    “Sir Dana*” refers to an old rhyme, adapted:
    “Brave Sir Dana runs away and lives to run another day.”

    Dana (MPH!!) has a tendency to disengage from disputes, only to resurface where (he hopes) he can find a softer target. Despite his experience, he does not seem adept at choosing sufficiently gullible people.

    * Originally, “Sir Robin.”

  42. DanaUllman says:

    HCN,
    My sympathies to your ill family member. Really. Sadly, your acidic personality probably doesn’t help to create the loving and healing environment that very sick people need.
    But then, again, love has not been found to be effective in randomized, placebo-controlled trials, so you’re probably against it, discourage people from trying it, and want to encourage governments to not support efforts that encourage it.

  43. HCN says:

    Dana, we have plenty of love in our family. Which is why it is so distressing to see someone suffer so much after obvious homeopathic quackery. Like what happened to these people:
    http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html

    You, on the other hand, are a clueless idiot without any empathy or understanding of how and when to shut-up.

    (Roy, I used the term “Brave Sir Dana” for exactly the reasons Joe mentioned, if you go to the JREF forums you will see several people attempting to actually explain the term to him as he posted with the name “James Gully”. You will also see that the his depths of idiocy know no bounds, again these are the links that Linda posted above)

  44. Mojo says:

    Dana, do you really think that someone abandoning real medicine for homoeopathy and as a result winding up in hospital says something positive about homoeopathy?

  45. DanaUllman says:

    Yeah…I did love using the name of “James Gully” because he was the physician who used water-cure and homeopathic medicines to treat Charles Darwin. I love that irony.

    I’m not “against” conventional medicine, except in certain circumstances or unless one doesn’t exhaust safer methods first.

    When homeopathy causes harm, it is headlines because it is so rare, while it is a “normal” part of conventional medical care… and therefore it is not news.

    I particularly love the fact that every man, woman, and child takes 12.4 prescription drugs per year (not counting the OTC drugs). Please point me to the research that shows efficacy of treatment using multiple drugs concurrently (except for a handful of conditions).

    One of these days you’ll realize that the amount of venom that comes out of your mind infects you. My sympathies.

  46. HCN says:

    You are truly clueless. The venom is reserved only for those who deserve it. Those being people who lie ( http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=25 ), those that blame the victim and not the person who sold them the false remedies.

    Oh, and claiming that it was the mind and love or whatever handwaving caused the person to suffer illness. I bet you think that Gloria Thomas deserved her fate because of not enough love… from her homeopath father:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2007/11/a_real_death_by_homeopathy.php

  47. DanaUllman says:

    You write and think in black and white, with venom and ugliness spread all around, spewing accusations of “lies” without showing them (you seem to be so ill- and uninformed about homeopathy, you cannot seem to understand what others write about it). There are no “lies” in my writing about asthma.

    And yeah, homeopathy doesn’t work all of the time. What does?

    How many people have died before of too early and/or too frequent use of Rx drugs? So so many that it is not even “news.” Thanx for proving my point.

    Good-bye…

  48. kathleen says:

    HCN said
    “You are truly clueless. The venom is reserved only for those who deserve it. ”

    HCN, keep the anger burning.
    A homeopath that I know was happy to prescribe homeopathic anti-malarials and was campaigning to have homeopathic arnica used as the first choice of treatment in all A&E departments.
    Forget MONA and anti-thrombolytics for your heart attack – just swallow this nice little sugar pill.
    The problem was that she was apparently a lovely person. Seemingly intelligent. Just wanted the best for everyone. But a true believer, completely brainwashed.
    I’m angry too but I’m never quite sure where I should be directing my anger. Directing it at the ‘nice’ homeopath feels like kicking a puppy. But Dana Ullman is another matter.

  49. HCN says:

    Thank you, Kathleen.

    Actually I am sure Mr. Ullman is a nice guy. The problem is that he has absolutely no idea what harm can come (or has occurred) due to his writings (many of which contain several falsehoods, which have been painstakingly explained to him in several areas from Darwin to the unbalanced test groups used in a couple of his favorite studies…. though perhaps they are not lies but blatant examples of his silly stupidity).

    It was noted in the previous posting:
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=25 his advice on asthma was downright dangerous.

    He does not understand that many of the people listed at the What’s The Harm webite about homeopathy who suffered from lack of treatment could have survived with real medicine.

    He blasters and blathers on how modern medicine (which is a term that includes ALL treatments, not just drugs, but things like surgeries, physical therapy and changes in behaviors,) has caused death. There is no denial that real medicine can cause harm, but he forgets that it has created better health.

    The big thing is that modern medicine works the majority of the time. Whereas homeopathy does not work.

    In good studies, homeopathy only works as well as placebo. In other words: it does nothing.

    In my own family where there is a genetic form of high blood pressure, members of that side of the family would typically die before they turned 50 years old. With the advent of diuretics to control blood pressure over 50 years ago, the average age of death is over 70 years old (there were 7 siblings born between 1901 and 1925, the first child died during the Spanish Flu Pandemic, another one died of hypertension when he was 40, but the oldest lived well into his 90s, and the youngest died last year at 81 — and it turned out for her she had had lung cancer due to her several decades of cigarette smoking).

    I’m pretty sure my oldest son would not have lived had his neonatal seizures had not been controlled by anticonvulsants. He could have ended up the same as this child:
    http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/11/25/1069522605256.html

    Also taking a look at an old family bible sent to me by a cousin I learned that my grandmother had two brothers, both of whom died before the age of 7. Not quite sure of what, but children dying of diphtheria, pertussis, measles and strep infections at the turn of the 20th century was very common (so was homeopathy). Now it is not so very common (and neither is homeopathy). It seems that the record for vaccines is much better than homeopathy.

    If Mr. Ullman disagrees that vaccines are better than homeopathy, then he is welcome to show the real data. I would especially be interested to see the real data which makes Andre Saine claim homeopathy works better for rabies than modern medicine (century old anecdotes are not sufficient).

  50. Badly Shaved Monkey says:

    OK, folks. Stand back. I’m going to try a magic spell. This Ullman Repelling Charm has worked many times before.

    Dana,

    You were very keen on Rustum Roy’s UV spectroscopy work on ethanol. Apparently it was a bomb that you were going to drop on us.

    That bomb has been very thoroughly defused;

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WXX-4RJXWNR-H&_user=10&_coverDate=01%2F31%2F2008&_rdoc=15&_fmt=full&_orig=browse&_srch=doc-info(%23toc%237170%232008%23999029998%23678364%23FLA%23display%23Volume)&_cdi=7170&_sort=d&_docanchor=&_ct=26&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=43bde5d3d7adff0d8168cefb2f8f100b

    Hocus pocus, abracadabra, Dana Ullman either explain why you were so impressed by Roy’s lousy paper or adequately answer its critics.

    There you go. I don’t think he’ll trouble this blog any further. (Though he might use his Brass-Necked Effrontery potion to continue posting while pretending the Charm had not been used against him.

  51. Badly Shaved Monkey says:

    p.s. the link was too long to paste cleanly. For anyone who wants to read the demolition of one of Dana’s favourite papers go here;

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/14754916

    and click on the link to the letter from Kerr et al.

    Don’t worry though, this small technical hitch does not stop the Charm from working.

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