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Thursday, 21 January 2010


I have been blogging here since the end of 2006 and no post has attracted as many comments as yesterday's has done. Obviously Homeopathy is a very hot potato at the moment - which I had failed to realise.

I did not say whether I believed or disbelieved and I'm not about to do so now. What I am in favour of is free speech. What I am not in favour of is attempting to intimidate people into agreeing with you which I can't help feeling is what are trying to do with their campaign. The whole thing leaves a nasty taste and reminds me of the vitriolic debate which the Swine Flu vaccine attracted in certain quarters.

I need not repeat here some of the totally outlandish conspiracy theories which surrounded that vaccine. But much of the Internet debate I read on the subject struck me as people getting very forceful and insistent that everyone should believe what they were saying because they had the only right answers. The people who were arguing for the vaccine and for people to make decisions about it based on their own individual circumstances were far more measured and controlled and using much less emotive language.

In fact if you want to convince me of anything then at least use rational and non-emotive language or I shall immediately think you have a personal axe to grind - likewise insults don't work. By the way if we're talking about complementary therapies then please do not spell the word as 'complimentary' which means something completely different.


I have just been reading the FAQs on the above mentioned website and come across Q4 which talks about confusing correlation and causation and suggests if you get better after taking a Homeopathic remedy then you would have got better anyway and it is your immune system which has caused the recovery or the placebo effect. Why on earth don't we make more use of the placebo effect? But you could argue the same thing for allopathic medicine - whatever is said here about scientists being really clever mortals who can get rid of these effects. Science does not have all the answers in my opinion any more than it has ever had all the answers at any period of mankind's history. Flat Earth anyone?


kcm said...

Well I must admit I was surprised by the virulence of the responses to your post on homoeopathy. I came along to leave a quick general agreement with you and ended up feeling I had to try to (not very well) bring some perspective to the debate. As you say, the main thing is freedom of thought and speech. And yes, I agree that science doesn't have all the answers (and I'm a trained research scientist!) - but then IMO nothing has all the answers, or ever will have.

Jilly said...

I was totally gobsmacked - considering I didn't express a personal belief either way and yet most posters were trying to convert me because they thought I was misguided. It seems the people in this campaign have an axe to grind whatever they're saying about their own objectivity.

I'm unsure how they can assume that anyone who believes in Homeopathy must not - by definition - be in possession of all the facts, otherwise they wouldn't believe in it.

It all smacks far too much of the right wing Bible belt thinking prevalent especially in certain parts of America.

NAM said...

I was struck above all by the way I couldn't really tell what point some contributors were trying to make, which possibly says something about the complexities of the debate and strength of feeling it arouses.

Jilly said...

You're right - I couldn't always tell where they were coming from. It will be interesting to see what happens on 30 January when this protest is supposed to take place.