If you are free on 17 – 19 November, why not pop over to Vienna and attend the European Congress for Homeopathy? The programme looks exciting (and full of humour); here are eight of my favourite lectures:
- R G Hahn ‘Homeopathy from a scientific and sceptic point of view’
- L Ellinger ‘Homeopathy as a replacement of antibiotics and in epidemics’
- T Farrington ‘Homeopathic treatment of farm animals’
- M M Montoya ‘Evidence based medicine in veterinary homeopathy’
- S Kruse ‘Homeopathy in neonatology’
- J Wurster ‘Homeopathic treatment and healing of cancer’
- P Knafl ‘The homeopathic treatment of cancer in cats and dogs’
- E Scherr ‘The homeopathic treatment of cancer in horses’
Other presenters at this meeting include two members of my ALT MED HALL OF FAME: Dr Fisher and Prof Frass. Their contributions alone would make the journey to Vienna a memorable event, I am sure.
And why are the presentations selected above amongst my favourites?
I am glad you asked! Here are some of my reasons:
- Prof Hahn as been mentioned on this blog before. He published what some homeopaths consider a biting criticism of one of my papers. I find his arguments utterly bonkers and I tried to explain this here. In the comments section of this post, one commentator wrote: “Dr. Hahn has an interesting take on the relationship of reason and science. Perhaps the best illustration of his confused views is illustrated in a comment-dialog (in english) following a blog post by Michael Eriksson, a Swedish computer scientist living in Germany. There, the two exchange views on this matter: https://michaeleriksson.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/science-and-reason/
The following quote from Dr. Hahn’s comments in this thread I find illustrative:
The question is – should we believe in scientific data or should we believe is them only if you can accept them by reason? I claim that you should trust the data, in particular if “reason” is provided by a complete outsider. The risk is very great that reason provided by an outsider is completely wrong.
Dr. Hahn reveals his denial of homeopathy’s implausibility and motivates this view by rejecting reason itself. He seems to be totally blind to the meaning of the term “reason” and presumably therefore blind to his own lack of it.
As I said, quite a curious case. Perhaps a variant of the Nobel disease?”
END OF QUOTE
These considerations render the title of Hahn’s lecture more than a little humorous, in my view.
- Homeopathy as a preplacement of antibiotics could to be a special type of very dark humour. If anyone really did implement such a strategy, there would be millions of fatalities worldwide within just a few months.
- Homeopathy for animals has also been debated on this blog before. The long and short of it is that there is no good evidence that it works.
- What follows for ‘evidence-based veterinary homeopathy is simple: it is a contradiction in terms.
- Homeopathy for children is not much different; in fact, it is worse: arguably, this is child abuse.
- The last there of my selected lectures are all on cancer, a subject that we too on this blog are familiar with (see here, here, here, here and here, for instance). Where does the homeopathic obsession with cancer cone from? Have homeopaths somehow decided that, as they are so very useless at curing trivial conditions, they must now go for the life-threatening diseases?
In any case, this conference promises to be a hilarious event – full of comedy gold, hubris, and wishful thinking. I think it’s a ‘must event’ for sceptics – so hurry and book soon!
There is, of course, evidence that ‘homeopathy works’.
We all know that TLC, non-specific, context effects (which I term ‘type I) make many patients ‘feel better’.
These are placebo effects – and very nice too (for a short while, I am sure Edzard will add).
But there is no evidence the pillules themselves have any effect (type II) whatsoever – except as placebos.
So we need to be clear what is meant by ‘works’.
And although Edzard says “The long and short of it is that there is no good evidence that it works” – we also need to be clear what is meant by ‘good’.
What paltry evidence there is, is regarded as good enough by homeopaths and their acolytes.
So, boring though it is, I suggest that we need to emphasise what we mean every time by stating ( ‘there is’ or ‘is not’):
“Plausible evidence established by scientific methods, acceptable to the general medical and scientific community and reproducible by others”.
Are there any other definitions or clarifications which might help?
Could we abbreviate this statement as ‘Plausible evidence’ – with the rest of the sentence a given?
Or even to ‘PEESM’?
I feel ‘good’ begs the question and is not good enough!
“In any case, this conference promises to be a hilarious event – full of comedy gold, hubris, and wishful thinking. I think it’s a ‘must event’ for sceptics – so hurry and book soon!”
It seems that Dr. Hahn is attending this meeting. You should not miss this great opportunity for you to settle issues with regarding his review of your “ideologically biased approach”.
Share with us the outcome of the discussion.