No shit? You really don't say! (part 2)

BBC: Homeopathy's benefit questioned

A leading medical journal has made a damning attack on homeopathy, saying it is no better than dummy drugs. The Lancet says the time for more studies is over and doctors should be bold and honest with patients about homeopathy's "lack of benefit".

Actually, I'm quite cross with the BBC: their original headline read Medics attack use of homeopathy, which is a far more unequivocal. Why the need to damp it down?

Having said that, the Guardian's headline was even better:

Guardian: As a fourth study says it's no better than a placebo, is this the end for homeopathy?

Of course it's not! The gullible public will never tire of bullshit.

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14 thoughts on “No shit? You really don't say! (part 2)

  1. As the bishop said, having thought about Father Dougal's vocational problems, "You're right. It's all bollocks, isn't it?"

    Now "It's all bollocks, isn't it?" would have been a fine and dandy BBC headline.

  2. As the bishop said, having thought about Father Dougal's vocational problems, "You're right. It's all bollocks, isn't it?"

    Now "It's all bollocks, isn't it?" would have been a fine and dandy BBC headline.

  3. And there I've put at least four pairs of bollocks on Richard's refreshingly clean website. Soz.

  4. When all is said & done (whatever that means!), a lot of homeopathic 'cures' do have a basis in natural chemistry. Doc leaves really do help nettle stings, due to the natural chemicals in their construction. Yet some sceptics still call it Old Wives Tales. It's not only the physical things that make us feel better though. Even a smile can make you feel good & costs nothing. Unfortunately there are a lot of charlatans out there cashing in on Mr & Mrs Gullible looking for their yuppie designer cures. As God said to Moses 'keep taking the tablets'

  5. Nite Owl, don't confuse homeopathic medicine with herbal medicine… Herbal medicine is based (sometimes unwittingly) on chemistry; so-called homeopathic medicine is based on a scientific impossibility.

  6. ...but the edges get blurred, maybe intentionally, to delude the unsuspecting consumer into thinking there is a link between natural & homeopathic cures. Working with people with borderline personality disorders, we find the 'placebo effect' in our approach to anti-psychotic medication, fascinating. The power of the mind over logic dictates that, in a lot of cases, the simple action of giving the patient 'a pill' is enough (attention) to calm the anxieties which prompted them to request the pill (attention) in the first place. So, if a simple (for example) aspirin can control the 'voices' for a few hours, should we withdraw this in favour of some controlled drug like olanzapine (with its unpleasant side effects) because logic says it doesn't really work? Really, all they wanted was the attention, but associate illness with pills rather than emotional support. We live in a pill popping society & Smith Klein etc. know that. Educating people away from medication & towards self help is an enormous task & I don't think we'll get there in my lifetime.

  7. I am also fascinated by the Placebo Effect. It's real, and it provides a perfectly adequate explanation of why some alternative medicines seem to work. I recently (within the last fortnight) started bookmarking items about the Placebo Effect here (keep watching that space, it will grow).

    To me, homeopathy, acupuncture and faith healing are one and the same thing: manifestations of the Placebo Effect. I think it's wrong to say they are anything more than this simply to keep believers (and snake-oil merchants) happy. But if placebos work, then let's market them as placebos, not conjure up any mystic mumbo-jumbo about laws of infinitesimals, energy centres and gods.

  8. Now hang on a minute:- If the recipient knew it was a placebo, wouldn't it defeat the whole purpose of the exercise in the first place? Secondly, people NEED to believe in that mumbo jumbo because it makes them feel important & have some sort of control over their destiny. Consider this:- The churches prey (no pun intended) on the weak & gullible. After all, isn't religion the biggest placebo of them all. Also, when you dig deeper into the many different sects, you can see they have a way of controlling those of us with a less free thinking outlook, and that's when you got trouble. But don't mind me, these are just the ramblings of an ageing buffoon!

  9. p.s. check out the FORTEAN TIMES web site. It's the biggest load of shite I've read in ages. Kept me laughing for hours!

  10. Night Owl, you ask:

    If the recipient knew it was a placebo, wouldn't it defeat the whole purpose of the exercise in the first place?

    Ah! But I also said that the Placebo Effect is real. So you tell them that you're giving them placebos, but that placebos actually work! That way, there is no lying involved. You're right about their need to feel important, though!

    For many years now, I have been telling Fitz (a psychologist of sorts) that I think there's a strong case to be made that classical conditioning (e.g. Pavlov's dogs), the Placebo Effect, Milgram's obedience/compliance experiments, and stuff like hypnotism are one and the same thing: people reacting the way they think they should react. I also tell Fitz that I think this might be the start of a grand unified theory of psychologyif anyone was interested.

  11. I agree. I once had 'concious hypnosis' to stop smoking. The guy was so convincing that I didn't want to hurt his feelings. So I just played the game for the hour I was in the chair, made all the right noises & then smoked three cigs on the drive home. I didn't stop smoking then but I felt that I had helped him justify his professional existance!

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