I have already posted challenges to homeopaths. For instance, in a previous post, I asked the ‘homeopaths of the world’ to answer a few questions satisfactorily. In return, I promised to no longer doubt their memory of water theory. If they cannot do this, I contended, they should to admit that all their ‘sciency’ theories about the mode of action of highly diluted homeopathic remedies are really quite silly – more silly even than Hahnemann’s idea of a ‘spirit-like’ effect.
And then there is the challenge to correctly identify their own remedies. In return, they would even earn the neat sum of Euro 50 000.
So far, none of these challenges have been met. But one must not give up hope!!!
Meanwhile, I have decided to issue another one. Let me explain:
One argument that the ‘defenders of the homeopathic realm’ love and almost invariably use, when someone states that it is time to move on and ban homeopathy to the history books, is this one:
IF WE BANNED HOMEOPATHY FROM OUR CLINICAL ROUTINE, WE WOULD ALSO HAVE TO BAN MANY OF THE TREATMENTS USED IN CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE WHICH ARE EQUALLY POORLY SUPPORTED BY SOUND EVIDENCE FOR EFFICACY.
This looks like a good argument!
I am sure that politicians, journalists, consumers and even many healthcare professionals find it convincing.
We know that lots of conventional treatments are less well supported than many of us would hope or think.
But less well-supported than homeopathy?
Let’s see: Homeopathy has been around for ~200 years. Controlled clinical trials of homeopathy have been conducted since 1835. Today, we have about 500 controlled clinical trials of homeopathy. The totality of these data fails to convincingly demonstrate that homeopathy is more than a placebo.
Are there many other therapies that fulfil these criteria? Personally, I am not aware of such a therapy, and if I did know one, I am fairly certain that I would advocate its elimination from our clinical routine.
But I am, of course, not an expert in all fields of healthcare.
Perhaps such treatments do exist!
I want to find out, and – as always – the burden of proof is with those who use this argument.
Which brings me to my challenge.
I HEREWITH CHALLENGE HOMEOPATHS AND THEIR FOLLOWERS TO NAME THERAPIES THAT ARE AS USELESS AS HOMEOPATHY!
To be clear, they ought to fulfil the following criteria:
- The treatment must be about 200 years old (plenty of time for a thorough evaluation).
- It should have been extensively tested in about 500 controlled clinical trials.
- The totality of this evidence should be negative.
- The treatment should be part of the clinical routine and have ardent proponents who insist it should be paid for by public funds.
I hope lots of homeopaths can name lots of such therapies.
Failing this, they should think twice before they use the above argument again.