Sunday, 29 November 2009

Homeo-phobic musings..........

Well, I woke up, tuned in early to make sure I had a connection and settled back to watch as the homeopathic top dogs crumbled under the barrage of evidence. The live streamed House of Commons Science and Technology sub-Committee’s question and answer session on the 25th of this month was as I expected it to be. Scientifically based responses from the supporters were non-existent and Dr Ben Goldacre, Edzard Ernst and Tracey Brown were like Man Utd. playing in the park on a Sunday against a bunch of school kids. So bad were the answers given in response to questions raised by the committee that I was forced to read the Guardians comments arriving on their Science Blog rather than look at the faces of the stuttering defenders of this sham that is homeopathy.    

What was most memorable about the whole days homeo bashing was not the contents of the video of the session its self, but rather interestingly the stubborn defence of homeopathy that continued to drip in for the rest of the day on the aforementioned comments. Mostly based on anecdotal evidence, ranging from a South African guy who's dog managed a leap up on to the sofa after being given some "memorised water" to a rather spirited attempt by a young lad who's father had been brought back from the brink after years of conventional treatment only to miraculously recover after some quack remedy. Like I say mostly anecdotal and the arguments kept coming. Nothing the sane and enlightened amongst the commenter’s could say would sway these people and their steadfast beliefs. This got me to thinking about something I have suspected for a long time. Once a person has stepped onto the pseudo band wagon, it’s VERY hard to get them to even consider that they may not be doing the right thing. I suppose it has a lot to do with human nature. The same is not generally true of the skeptics I find, although we have our zealots too. All we want is to be shown hard evidence. Show me and I am converted. I can see how it works from the other side though, after all I have kids and they do it all the time. Picture this:

Son : "I am so into xxxxxxx. they’re great and are bound to be around for years and years. I think I am gonna have their name tattooed on my forehead."

Dad: "That’s a really bad idea, apart from ruining your looks and making your self look foolish, history tells us that most bands don't make it past a couple of years and your opinion of them could change."

Son: "That’s never gonna happen, these guys are great."

Dad: "……’s a bad idea, the past has shown...."

Son: "What do you know, you don't even listen to `em"

Dad: "I am just saying that ......."

And so on and so on...... The kid is not going change his mind on the say so of his “square” old man. And so it is with people who have had the use of a homeopathic "drug". If they don't kick it in to touch when it doesn't work first time they are going to believe it has worked forever. That their bruising or rash can go away on its own won’t even come into it, nor will they ever see this as a coincidence if the homeopathic route was taken. Once the ego has "set" it’s very hard to change back. It takes a strong mind and the ability to show you made a mistake and that’s not easy for anyone to do. If it was, divorce and marriage guidance councilors would have no need to exist because we would all be able to see our own faults and apologise and change our behavior accordingly.

The motivation behind the scientific and corporate minds defending homeopathy at the Home Office party last week have another agenda, of course, driven by another ugly human trait. Greed, plain and simple. What worries me though is not that they are making money but that the arguments for the efficacy of the treatments just do not stand up to any form of scrutiny at all and they steadfastly refuse to acknowledge this. Contradictions were flying all over the place and so much waffle and stuttering going on it was like catching a kid red handed with his hand in the cookie jar. I am happy to believe in homeopathy if you can just show me it works. Just show me, that’s it. Clear up a random rash and let me see the results, repeat the exercise again with a further random sample and then again with another. Do it over and over, until there can be no doubt that this works, the same way as the big pharmaceuticals have to do it. Bringing a drug to market is a long process and a very costly one at that. Why these charlatans should get away with this scam is way off the scale of normal rationally working minds. I think it should be stopped in its tracks.

Never mind that its supposedly harmless –( what the hell point is there in a harmless drug, by the way), the facts are that it’s not. Australia found out recently the hard way with the death of a 9 month old baby girl who was killed by her parents withholding conventional medicine in favor of homeopathic drops to cure eczema. Well, it didn’t cure her, it killed the poor mite. Now you know why I can’t believe in it. There was a perfectly random rash to be cleared up and HOMEOPATHY COULDN’T DO IT. Do us all a favor, spare Boots the chemist any more “Ratner” moments and don’t allow any more people to die needlessly. It’s the end 2009, it’s about time we let go of this ancient and useless rubbish and let science, with all its faults, free to get on with the job of curing us of our ails.