Jun 02 2014

The Clinical Evidence for Homeopathy

Dana Ullman is a notorious apologist for homeopathy. He has a reputation, at least among skeptics, for cherry picking data and making dubious arguments – whatever it takes in order to defend his beloved homeopathy. He then tops it off by accusing skeptics of being closed-minded for not accepting his drivel.

An article of his recently popped up on the Skeptic subreddit (posted by rzeczpospolita) with the challenge, “Countless scientific studies showing that homeopathy works. Or are you “skeptics” too closed minded to accept this fact?”

The article is too long to deconstruct in one blog post, so I will focus on the key claim – that clinical evidence demonstrates that homeopathy works. His primary piece of evidence is this:

In 1991, three professors of medicine from the Netherlands, none of them homeopaths, performed a meta-analysis of 25 years of clinical studies using homeopathic medicines and published their results in the British Medical Journal. This meta-analysis covered 107 controlled trials, of which 81 showed that homeopathic medicines were effective, 24 showed they were ineffective, and 2 were inconclusive.

This is the study. While the article itself is not dated, it does mention in the body that it is a reprint from 1995. Ullman appears to have posted the article in 2010 without updating the information. Apparently he thinks that a review from 23 years ago is still relevant.  When I look for systematic reviews to help me understand the current state of research on a topic, I get concerned if I am going back more than 3 or 4 years.

He then further cherry picked from the statements the authors made to give what is, in my opinion, a false impression of their conclusion. Ullman gives this quote:

“The evidence presented in this review would probably be sufficient for establishing homeopathy as a regular treatment for certain indications.”

Here is the actual bottom-line conclusion from the abstract:

“At the moment the evidence of clinical trials is positive but not sufficient to draw definitive conclusions because most trials are of low methodological quality and because of the unknown role of publication bias. This indicates that there is a legitimate case for further evaluation of homoeopathy, but only by means of well performed trials.”

They concluded the evidence was not sufficient, and that more research was needed. They specifically pointed out the unknown role of publication bias.

Let’s take a look at more recent systematic reviews of the clinical evidence. The most recent and thorough was conducted for the Australian government. This is a 2013 report (a bit more up to date) which concluded:

“There is a paucity of good-quality studies of sufficient size that examine the effectiveness of homeopathy as a treatment for any clinical condition in humans. The available evidence is not compelling and fails to demonstrate that homeopathy is an effective treatment for any of the reported clinical conditions in humans.”

Most of the evidence is crap, but what evidence we do have does not support the use of homeopathy for any condition. There is also a systematic review of systematic reviews by Edzard Ernst, which concluded:

“The findings of currently available Cochrane reviews of studies of homeopathy do not show that homeopathic medicines have effects beyond placebo.”

This review is from 2010, so it is already getting a bit long in the tooth, but nothing has changed since then.

A systematic review in Belgium published in 2012 had the same conclusion:

“The Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE) has reviewed the evidence on homeopathy up until 2010. The indications for which homeopathy was tested were diverse. Most of the trials analysed were deemed of mediocre quality.
There was no evidence of any homeopathic treatment being more effective than the placebo effect.”

The British government also had experts review the evidence for homeopathy. Their 2009-2010 report concludes that there is no evidence for the efficacy of homeopathy. They further concluded that proponents of homeopathy choose to rely on a “selective” approach to the evidence.

Ullman did write favorably of a Swiss report on homeopathy from 2011. If you read deep into the Swiss report, however, it also concluded that the evidence does not justify rejecting the null-hypothesis for homeopathic treatment for anything. But then they argue that we should rely more on pragmatic studies rather than those pesky efficacy trials which are stubbornly negative.

An excellent review of the Swiss report by David Shaw concludes:

This paper analyses the report and concludes that it is scientifically, logically and ethically flawed. Specifically, it contains no new evidence and misinterprets studies previously exposed as weak; creates a new standard of evidence designed to make homeopathy appear effective; and attempts to discredit randomised controlled trials as the gold standard of evidence. Most importantly, almost all the authors have conflicts of interest, despite their claim that none exist. If anything, the report proves that homeopaths are willing to distort evidence in order to support their beliefs, and its authors appear to have breached Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences principles governing scientific integrity.

Conclusion

There has been a great deal of clinical studies into the efficacy of homeopathy, covering decades of research. From this research we can conclude that most of the studies are of low quality. However, from those studies of sufficient quality to draw any conclusions it is clear that homeopathic potions do not work for any indication.

Homeopathy, put simply, does not work.

Multiple independent bodies have reviewed this research and come to the same conclusion. They have allowed homeopaths to have their say and make their best case, and that case is unconvincing.

They further conclude that homeopaths cherry pick and distort the evidence in order to make their case.

In this article Dana Ullman has failed to provide any convincing evidence for the efficacy of homeopathy, but he has provided yet more evidence to support that latter conclusion – you have to be highly selective and biased in your view of the clinical evidence in order to come to the conclusion that homeopathy works – because it doesn’t.

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114 responses so far

114 Responses to “The Clinical Evidence for Homeopathy”

  1. Bruceon 02 Jun 2014 at 9:11 am

    Skeptic: “This horse is dead.”
    Homepath: “No it isn’t! I saw a hair move!”
    Skeptic: “That was the wind.”
    Homeopath: “The wind is made of nature and it made the horse move therefore it is not a dead horse!”
    Skeptic: “Stop blowing on it.”
    Homeopath: “If the patient doesn’t see me blowing then he will think the horse is alive!”
    Skeptic: “What if he wants to ride it to safety?”
    Homeopath: “We will tell them to get on that motorbike you made.”
    Skeptic: “So you are saying the horse is not dead but it won’t work like a horse?”
    Homeopath: “If you cut it open you can keep warm in a snow storm…”
    Skeptic: “Surely that will stink a bit?”
    Homeopath: “Yeah, but it is natural…”
    Skeptic: “… and being dead won’t it be cold anyway?”
    Homeopath: “Well, someone did an examination on it 23 years ago and it was alive.”
    Skeptic: “But it is not alive now, even if it was alive 23 years ago?”
    Homeopath: “Ok, fine… what if I make it really really small…?”

  2. BillyJoe7on 02 Jun 2014 at 9:45 am

    Now wait for the dullman hit and run….

  3. carbonUniton 02 Jun 2014 at 10:23 am

    Gee, I thought this was going to be a really short blog post:

    “”.

  4. Ekkoon 02 Jun 2014 at 1:01 pm

    The German homeopathic company, Heel, just settled for $1 million to avoid a class action lawsuit in the US over making false claims. Normally I would think this settlement is small potatoes but in this case it prompted the company to cease all North American operations. I would imagine it’s because this is not the first lawsuit and probably wouldn’ve have been the last.
    http://www.heel.com.co/heel-com-news-May2014.html

    When discussing homeopathy with friends that believe in it, it all boils down to “yeah but it just seems to work”. The fact that it seems to work (anecdotally) with animals and infants also seems to be evidence against it just being placebo (for these friends that is). For infants it could just be the sugar in the pill and for animals it’s based on conditioning – my dog is certainly happy to receive anything that seems to be like a treat.

  5. DanaUllmanon 02 Jun 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Steven Novella has shown AGAIN how to create a straw man argument. Thanx.

    First, he quotes some of my writings that are CLEARLY written in 1995 (!), and he then wonders why this “new” article is so out-of-date! Steven, you’ve proven how daft a person can be.

    The fact that you purposefully provide mis-information and do so proudly is the reason that I have no interest in debating a person who is imbued with such an unscientific attitude: Novella’s ignorance of homeopathy and his arrogance on the subject represent is worse possible way to understand or learn anything.

    I suggest that you review the following articles that reference both select basic sciences and clinical research:

    Bell IR, Koithan M. A model for homeopathic remedy effects: low dose nanoparticles, allostatic cross-adaptation, and time-dependent sensitization in a complex adaptive system. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Oct 22;12(1):191.
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1472-6882-12-191.pdf (this is an exceptional review of the basic sciences literature that explains how homeopathic medicines may work)

    Bell IR, Sarter B, Koithan M, et al. Integrative Nanomedicine: Treating Cancer with Nanoscale Natural Products. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, January 2014. 36-53.
    http://tinyurl.com/mqe5p88 (this article starts at page 36)

    Chikramane PS, Kalita D, Suresh AK, Kane SG, Bellare JR. Why Extreme Dilutions Reach Non-zero Asymptotes: A Nanoparticulate Hypothesis Based on Froth Flotation.
    Langmuir. 2012 Nov 1.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23083226
    – Langmuir is the leading journal in the field of material sciences.

    Eskinazi, D., Homeopathy Re-revisited: Is Homeopathy Compatible with Biomedical Observations? Archives in Internal Medicine, 159, Sept 27, 1999:1981-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10510983
    –This article verifies that many hormones and cell signal agents operate at doses commonly observed in homeopathic medicines, even the “high potency homeopathic medicines,” as verified from the Langmuir study.

    Lüdtke R, Rutten ALB. The conclusions on the effectiveness of homeopathy highly depend on the set of analyzed trials. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. October 2008. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2008.06/015. (This article, published in a leading journal that specializes in clinical methodology issues, provides a profound critique of the Shang, et al (2005) article in the Lancet.

    Frass, M, Dielacher, C, Linkesch, M, et al. Influence of potassium dichromate on tracheal secretions in critically ill patients, Chest, March, 2005;127:936-941. Published in the leading journal on respiratory medicine, this study shows remarkable results in treating the #4 reason that people in the USA die. Conducted at the University of Vienna Hospital.

    Bell IR, Lewis II DA, Brooks AJ, et al. Improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients treated with individualized homeopathic remedies versus placebo, Rheumatology. 2004:1111-5. Published in the leading journal on its subject, this study showed clinically relevant improvements from homeopathy as well as influences on objective EEG readings.

    Skeptics of homeopathy do not do their homework in their critiques of homeopathy. In fact, they continually show profound ignorance of the subject, and they never acknowledge the difference between homeopathic research that has good internal validity with those studies that have good external validity (how “convenient” for you!).

  6. Bill Openthalton 02 Jun 2014 at 6:10 pm

    I had a gander at the Heel website, and it is desperately short on information on their products, stating merely

    The therapeutic use is listed according to the homeopathic drug provings. For further information please contact the local distributor in your country.

    The (German) product sheets are just as devoid of genuine information, adding just more disclaimers (like not to use it during pregnancy, breast feeding or young children) and that one should see a doctor in case of persisting symptoms. Not really a confident assertion of the benefits of homeopathy (actually, their take on homeopathy as they claim to mix several “ingredients”).

    The following quote (paragraph 2 from their 3 paragraph, link-less page on Research):

    What makes us a global player in the field of science-based homeopathy?
    Firstly, our significant investment into a broad international program of basic and clinical research. We not only initiate and execute our own research activities, we also co-operate closely with universities and research institutes worldwide.

    Being at the forefront of research is just one aspect of this leadership. We think it is important to put individual research results into a larger framework. Different types of research yield different aspects of evidence, and by placing research activities in a broader framework the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts. In this way the evidence from basic research, observational studies, clinical trials, and reviews combines into what we call an ‘Evidence Mosaic’.

    Or how to make “cherry-picking” look like serious science.

  7. Bruceon 02 Jun 2014 at 6:17 pm

    “Evidence Mosaic”

    This is gold.

  8. The Other John Mcon 02 Jun 2014 at 8:23 pm

    “Evidence Mosaic” = YES, pure gold indeed! You could even combine several mosaics into a Meta-Mosaic, you know, just to be thorough. How do they come up with this stuff?

  9. BKseaon 03 Jun 2014 at 1:40 am

    Observation 1. It would be very easy to definitively show that a homeopathic treatment works by subjecting it to a large placebo controlled trial.

    Observation 2. Definitively showing that homeopathy works would make homeopaths very very rich.

    Observation 3. The fact that no one has done this is all the proof you need to conclude homeopathy is bunk.

  10. Steven Novellaon 03 Jun 2014 at 7:42 am

    Dana,

    My apologies on the date error. I recommend you add a date to the article itself, which is fairly standard. I will correct the text to reflect this.

    Your accusations, however, are unfounded. I am very familiar with the homeopathy literature. I have reviewed much of it directly, and have even written directly about much of the putative evidence (now who is willfully creating a strawman).

    You point to preliminary and speculative evidence. There is no research that demonstrates clearly that homeopathic dilutions are anything but water. And there is not a single clinical indication for any homeopathic potion that has been demonstrated to be effective.

    Show me one proven indication for homeopathy – meaning a systematic review of multiple trials of reasonable quality that concluded the evidence is sufficient to conclude homeopathy works.

  11. grabulaon 03 Jun 2014 at 7:48 am

    @Dana

    Steve Novella said: “Show me one proven indication for homeopathy – meaning a systematic review of multiple trials of reasonable quality that concluded the evidence is sufficient to conclude homeopathy works.”

    Better yet Dana, tell us what you think the mechanisms are for purified water that allow it to be used to treat illnesses, from allergies to cancer. Nothing that defies the laws of physics please.

  12. BillyJoe7on 03 Jun 2014 at 8:37 am

    “Now wait for the dullman hit and run….”

    He has hit!
    Now watch him run…

  13. jasontimothyjoneson 03 Jun 2014 at 10:06 am

    “Novella’s ignorance of homeopathy and his arrogance on the subject represent is worse possible way to understand or learn anything”

    Is it actually possible to be both ignorant and arrogant on the same subject? To be ignorant, you have no knowledge of the matter, to be arrogant on a subject you have the knowledge of the subject by definition.

    hey look, I just used my Ph.D for good :)

  14. homeopathyworkson 03 Jun 2014 at 10:31 am

    Another exercise in futility by the author. The debate of homeopathy versus conventional medicine was over decades ago. Today’s health care consumers don’t read these slam bash homeopathy articles. Rather, they hear about successful outcomes using homeopathy for chronic pain, life threatening diseases and everyday acute conditions from other patients. Unless the homeopathy skeptics can stop word of mouth, they are doomed to fail for another 250 years.

    Health care consumers also don’t give a wit about RCTs or double blind studies that the skeptics keep demanding for “proof” that homeopathy works. Conventional medicine is its own worst enemy. The internet and press is full of class action law suits by patients who have suffered severe adverse side effects, including death, as a result of the toxic drugs (approved by the FDA as safe for marketing). Skeptics are fooling themselves by believing what they think. The gig is up. Time for the skeptics to exit stage left.

  15. DanaUllmanon 03 Jun 2014 at 10:32 am

    Steven, if you had simply read the FIRST sentence in my article (http://www.homeopathic.com/Articles/Homeopathic_research/Scientific_Evidence_for_Homeopathic_Medicine.html), you would have learned WHEN the article was written…it is this type of sloppy scholarship for which I am concerned about you. Such sloppiness is typical in “medical fundamentalists” because they only read what they want to read…and understand what they want to understand…and not understand what doesn’t fit within their paradigm.

    The irony here is that you, Steven, work hard in providing a critique of people who do not show high standards of “science,” and yet, you repeatedly show yourself to having an unscientific attitude, a condition that imbues your work with misinformation.

    I suggest that you review the body of clinical research conducted on the homeopathic treatment of respiratory allergies. This body of evidence includes several high quality randomized double-blind and placebo controlled trials: http://www.thorne.com/altmedrev/.fulltext/15/1/48.pdf

    Also, as you probably know, one of the most serious public health problems in the world is childhood diarrhea, a condition that leads to millions of deaths in kids due to dehydration. Three studies have confirmed efficacy, and although the lead scientist (Jennifer Jacobs, MD) was the same for all 3 studies, she used different homeopaths in the prescribing of homeopathic medicines in each study (the first study was published in PEDIATRICS!).
    – Jacobs J, Jonas WB, Jimenez-Perez M, Crothers D, Homeopathy for Childhood Diarrhea: Combined Results and Metaanalysis from Three Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trials, Pediatr Infect Dis J, 2003;22:229-34. This metaanalysis of 242 children showed a highly significant result in the duration of childhood diarrhea (P=0.008). A 4th trial testing a “homeopathic formula” had a negative result.

    That said, if you were REALLY interested in whether the nanodoses used in homeopathic medicines had “nothing” in them OR, in fact, if they really do have biological action, you would benefit from reviewing the basic science literature.

    Here are 3 reviews that highlight the many replication studies that exist in homeopathy:

    Endler PC, Thieves K, Reich C, Matthiessen P, Bonamin L, Scherr C, Baumgartner S. Repetitions of fundamental research models for homeopathically prepared dilutions beyond 10-23: a bibliometric study. Homeopathy, 2010; 99: 25-36. http://www.similima.com/homeopathyresearch/thesis108.pdf

    Homeopathy. January, 2010, issue. This entire issue is devoted to basic sciences research. Of special interest is: Repetitions of fundamental research models for homeopathically prepared dilutions beyond 10-23: a bibliometric study; as well as Animal models for studying homeopathy and high dilutions: Conceptual critical review

    Witt CM, Bluth M, Albrecht H, Weisshuhn TE, Baumgartner S, Willich SN. The in vitro evidence for an effect of high homeopathic potencies–a systematic review of the literature. Complement Ther Med. 2007 Jun;15(2):128-38. Epub 2007 Mar 28. From 75 publications, 67 experiments (1/3 of them replications) were evaluated. Nearly 3/4 of them found a high potency effect, and nearly 3/4 of all replications were positive.

    Slamdunk.

  16. Karl Withakayon 03 Jun 2014 at 11:58 am

    If it weren’t for the fact the blinded subjects can’t tell the difference between homeopathic remedies* and a control, it would be worth pointing out that there’s scientific way at all to tell the difference between different homeopathic remedies or to confirm that any homeopathic preparation is what it claims to be.

    How would you know if a manufacturer accidentally mislabeled a product or swapped labels on a pair of homeopathic products?

    How could you determine what homeopathic product you had if the package/ label was missing?

    How would you be able to tell if a homeopathic product manufacturer cheated and just bottled distilled water? (Committed fraud with their fraud?)

    *of sufficient dilutions say beyond 12C or so that contain no detectable traces of active ingredients.

  17. Steven Novellaon 03 Jun 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Dana – I read the part of the article I wished to respond to. I even said I didn’t have time to deconstruct the whole thing. Such is the nature of a daily blog. I corrected the error when pointed out.

    It is really rich that you accuse me of selective reading. I am quoting multiple systematic reviews of the clinical evidence for homeopathy, which consistently shows that homeopathy has not been demonstrated to work for anything. You are the one who is selectively quoting the evidence.

    For example, you cite Jacobs as if this is good evidence. The three preliminary studies are very shaky evidence, and other reviews have characterized it as “mixed.” You then skim over the fact that a 4th follow up trial was completely negative. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=homeopathy%2C+diarrhea%2C+jacob) The fourth larger trial was negative. Overall – this evidence is negative. It does not show a consistent or replicable effect. You are presenting negative evidence as if it is positive.

    Regarding your “slamdunk” (really, that’s embarrassing) the scientific community is not impressed. Here is one scathing review in the BMJ that points out:
    Witt et al evaluated 67 in-vitro experiments(9) and discovered that “nearly 3/4 of them found a high potency effect”. Yet they had to concede that “no positive result was stable enough to be reproduced by all investigators”. http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/11/03/evidence-homeopathy-not-positive

    Even worse, the study also states this: “Randomization was only reported for 18% and blinding for 33% of the experiments.”

    In other words – most of these studies were utterly worthless. In the list of studies was Benveniste’s, where fraud was exposed.

    75% positive is not impressive, given the poor methodology, and the known publication bias. This is background noise.

    What they don’t have is a solid methodology with a replicable result.

    The fact that you find this shoddy research with weak results to be a “slamdunk” speaks volumes.

  18. Steven Novellaon 03 Jun 2014 at 12:36 pm

    “The debate of homeopathy versus conventional medicine was over decades ago. ”

    You’re right – and homeopathy lost. Of course, that’s the scientific debate. The scientific community is pretty united in the conclusion that there is no basis to homeopathy and the clinical evidence is negative. There really is no scientific debate – homeopathy cannot work and does not work.

    You are referring to the court of public opinion, which tends to be all over the place, depending on complex sociological factors. This is hardly a good argument for anything. Half the population does not believe in evolution.

    In any case, even here, homeopathy is losing. It’s use is miniscule compared to science-based medicine. It survives because of poor regulations and marketing deception. Most people don’t even know what homeopathy is.

  19. steve12on 03 Jun 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Dana:

    “Steven, if you had simply read the FIRST sentence in my article… ”

    Here it is:

    “Although the below article is excellent, it is somewhat dated (it was written in 1995!). For a more up-to-date and comprehensive review of clinical research testing homeopathic medicines, we highly recommend that you purchase a one-time download or a 2-year subscription to a special e-book written by Dana Ullman, MPH Homeopathic Family Medicine ”

    Am I to understand, then, that since 1995 the most favorable review of homeopathy isn’t a peer-reviewed article but a non peer-reviewed commercial ($99) e-book for $99? Do I have that right?

  20. homeopathyworkson 03 Jun 2014 at 1:14 pm

    If ‘homeopathy lost’, why are there so many articles, such as this one, trying to convince health care consumers, and licensing boards world-wide that it does not work?

    Fortunately, the Affordable Health Care act will help fund visits to licensed homeopaths in the United States. Homeopathy skeptics will have millions more homeopathy supporters to debate. And, based on the skeptics’ prior efforts, I don’t see homeopathy losing, only gaining.

    The health care industry is profit driven based on success. Sex and success sell. Homeopathy continues to be successful. Do the math. Stop believing what you think. It’s wrong.

  21. Ekkoon 03 Jun 2014 at 1:20 pm

    “Also, as you probably know, one of the most serious public health problems in the world is childhood diarrhea, a condition that leads to millions of deaths in kids due to dehydration.”

    Well, at least homeopathy is providing some H2O for these cases.

    “And, based on the skeptics’ prior efforts, I don’t see homeopathy losing, only gaining.”

    Ask Heel if homeopathy is winning in North America…

  22. homeopathyworkson 03 Jun 2014 at 2:58 pm

    @Ekko who said “Ask Heel if homeopathy is winning in North America” So? Means nothing.

    Guess you missed in the news that the company that produces the homeopathic remedy Zicam will be opening a plant in Manchester, England. Guess the demand warrants it, eh? Oh, and they got FDA approval recently too.

    Stop believing what you think. Learning about the effectiveness, or not, of homeopathy from other skeptics and thinking you are making a difference in the scheme of things is a joke. Fact = There are many more homeopathy supporters (500 million) than homeopathy skeptics (being generous maybe 100,000 tops world-wide on a good day).

    The patients that are treated and cured of cancer at the Banerji homeopathic clinic in India, and MD Anderson in Texas, for example, don’t care what the skeptics say. No RCTs, no double-blind, replicable evidence needed. Until skeptics such as yourself can silence them, you’re going to have to find another cause to champion. Hint > it won’t be stopping the successes in homeopathy. Someone has to support the drug industry. Glad you’re doing your part.

  23. Ekkoon 03 Jun 2014 at 3:12 pm

    @homeopathyworks,

    Patients have been treated and cured of cancer using homeopathy at MD Anderson? This is fantastic news! But I cannot find anything about these remarkable cures on their website. I am positive a homeopathy supporter like yourself would not stoop to making things up though. So where can I read more about these successes?

  24. DanaUllmanon 03 Jun 2014 at 4:26 pm

    It is fun to watch you skeptics in action. The degree of ignorance AND arrogance is repeated observed…and these characteristics are a BAD combo for a good and healthy scientific attitude.

    Novella…again, you show poor scholarship (no surprise). My post above acknowledged a 4th study by Jacobs, et al, but this study was not the same as the others. THIS study only prescribed a homeopathic formula product. The fact that it was negative has no impact on the 3 previous studies that used a professional homeopath to individually select a homeopathic medicine (in a randomized double-blind trial). And for the record, the professional homeopaths only used 30C potencies, while the homeopathic formula contained doses that are “lower potencies” (mostly 6X potency…and THIS dose is clearly a material-laden dose). But heck, Steven, don’t let your poor scholarship get in the way of your (false) knowledge.

    Steve12 is so daft that he (somehow) thinks that my ebook publishes research (it doesn’t). Like the article originally referenced, my ebook provides reference to and detailed descriptions of hundreds of clinical trials (both positive and negative) testing homeopathic medicines. Therefore, anyone who wants a more up-to-date and comprehensive review of clinical research in homeopathy would benefit from subscribing.

    And Ekko, you might benefit from a search engine called GOOGLE! Duh. A simple search using keywords would lead you to several studies published in peer-review journals about research conducted at MD Anderson, including:
    – Banerji P, Campbell DR, Banerji P. Cancer patients treated with the Banerji protocols utilising homoeopathic medicine: a Best Case Series Program of the National Cancer Institute USA. Oncology Report 2008 Jul;20(1):69-74
    – Frenkel M, Mishra B, Yang P, Cohen L, Sen S, Banerji P, Banerji P. Cytotoxic effects of ultra diluted remedies on breast cancer cells. International Journal of Oncology,2010; 36: 395-403.

    And for the record, you can learn more about my ebook, “Evidence Based Homeopathic Family Medicine,” at: https://www.homeopathic.com/cms-global/shoppingcart/ViewProduct.do?productId=227

    It is amazing how ignorant skeptics are of the homeopathic literature published in peer-review journals…and yet, that surely doesn’t stop them from arrogantly espouses their misinformation. My sympathies to you…

  25. homeopathyworkson 03 Jun 2014 at 4:34 pm

    @Ekko,

    I am not, nor do I plan to play the role of “Skut Monkey” for you or any other skeptic. The information is all over the internet and in many medical journals. It’s all in knowing WHERE to look. Try visiting your local university’s medical library. You are not an independent thinker, or researcher.

    If you are truly interested in finding out the facts, why not visit the Banerji Clinic and the Oncology Department at MD Anderson and ask about the collaborative protocols being carried out now? Reading skeptic blogs and depending on others to inform you is lazy. Have you ever been treated by a homeopath? I have. It worked when conventional medicine did not. Fact trumps your ‘opinion’.

    Another question. Have I missed where the skeptics have conducted research trials proving that homeopathy is not effective?

    Find another cause to champion. Homeopathy is not it.

  26. the devils gummy bearon 03 Jun 2014 at 4:49 pm

    homeopathyworks, aren’t you being a bit of a sore winner here? If the endeavors of skeptics are a joke in the scheme of things, why waste time on them? If “conventional” medicine has lost so decisively, why even bother rubbing it in? Is gloating an effective or productive use of your time and energy?

  27. steve12on 03 Jun 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Dana:

    “Steve12 is so daft that he (somehow) thinks that my ebook publishes research (it doesn’t).”

    Do you know what a review article is?

    “Like the article originally referenced, my ebook provides reference to and detailed descriptions of hundreds of clinical trials (both positive and negative) testing homeopathic medicines. Therefore, anyone who wants a more up-to-date and comprehensive review of clinical research in homeopathy would benefit from subscribing.”

    So in lieu of an actual review article, you offer a $99 e-book that is not peer reviewed. That’s my point. Why is that? Why not publish a review article?

    Are you for real? Just go straight to the lay audience and save yourself some time Dana. No one in science is going to buy this act.

  28. Steven Novellaon 03 Jun 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Dana,

    I read all the Jacobs studies. They are very unconvincing. This is crappy low grade evidence, yet you find it compelling, because you are a peudoscientist. I said you skimmed over the 4th study – gave it short mention – because it was dead negative. Of course you have excuses for it – it’s still negative.

    The outcome measures of the trials were inconsistent and cherry picked. They were data mining and not correcting for multiple comparisons.

    This is the best homeopathy can do – a bunch of small poorly done inconsistent trials showing mixed results.

    From Dana Ullman’s twitter: “Steven Novella is a douche-bag. He attacked me & wouldn’t publish my response that blew him out of the water.”

    It’s called moderation – you include a bunch of links, you go into moderation automatically. But it is a very common jackass move to quickly accuse the blog owner of censorship. Very low class.

    If you honestly think you blew me out of the water with your crappy evidence, you are delusional. But that is par for the course with you.

  29. Steven Novellaon 03 Jun 2014 at 5:12 pm

    All of this, by the way, is a pathetic distraction from the only facts that matter here – multiple systematic reviews from independent experts have reviewed the clinical evidence and found that they do not support the use of homeopathy for anything. I provided all the references. Ullman has nothing to say to that, so he is going ad hom.

  30. Ekkoon 03 Jun 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Dana,
    Your first reference is a “best case series” consisting of 4 patients. This is many many steps before anything like a clinical trial. There’s very little information to go by in the abstract. Did this lead to anything further and more substantial 6 years on?

    Your second reference is a cell study that did not use any statistical analysis at all. Its control used 87% alcohol, which also kills cancer cells.
    This cell study has already been exposed for its numerous flaws.
    http://scepticsbook.com/2010/02/14/a-giant-leap-in-logic-from-a-piece-of-bad-science/
    The first comment on this critique is from one of the actual study authors and is very revealing.
    Yet somehow you still hold this up as “evidence”?

  31. steve12on 03 Jun 2014 at 5:27 pm

    I might call you names too it could help me rake in 100 clams a book. Pretty sweet deal for nonsense.

  32. Bill Openthalton 03 Jun 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Dana, it must be an emotionally satisfying experience selling water and nonsense to gullible, sick people.

  33. BillyJoe7on 03 Jun 2014 at 6:28 pm

    If there is one thing that has been totally and completely debunked on the basis of both plausibility (none) and evidence (none), it is homoeopathy (I like to use the archaic spelling), and yet there are people in this world who, knowing all this, are still able to convince themselves that it works.
    I find that mind blowing.

  34. Ekkoon 03 Jun 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Yes, I often wonder what percentage of homeopathy supporters actually believe in it and what percentage are just too monetarily invested to opt out. Or is it more the semi-religious, mystical, new agey side that binds them? I strongly suspect most people who shrug about it just think it’s like some form of herbal medicine. I still remember my reaction when I read about what it actually is (or isn’t, rather) and what its premises are. The way it is labelled almost seems intentional to obfuscate the fact that people are just getting water or lactose.
    Obligatory: http://memegenerator.net/instance/50412959

  35. homeopathyworkson 03 Jun 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Just saw a tweet with this information and thought I would pass it along to the readers here. Of particular interest to me was the mention that there was an ‘even stronger response recorded’ when the dose was halved.

    Homeopathy changes brain activity: Researchers, using an electroencephalogram (EEG), have measured changes in brain activity after test subjects were given a homeopathic remedy for stress. The changes were similar to those seen with related pharmacological drugs but when the dose was halved, an even stronger response recorded. Changes took place within an hour and peaked at two to three hours. The study was published at: Dimpfel, W. (2010). How natural medications affect the brain.

    European Journal of Integrative Medicine Issue 2, 4:227 – 228. An online report is available at: http://www.heel.com/upload/008_2011_Heel_Dimpfel_Study_EN_6935.pdf

    Looking forward to seeing some studies done by homeopathy skeptic researchers to disprove the study was flawed? How about proposing this to the Nightingale Collaboration with a request for funding? Maybe when pigs fly?

  36. rezistnzisfutlon 03 Jun 2014 at 7:02 pm

    It’s like talking to a creationist, the parallels in thinking are remarkable.

  37. homeopathyworkson 03 Jun 2014 at 7:08 pm

    @rezistnzisfutl

    Typical ad hom attack when someone has nothing of substance to contribute to the discussion.

  38. Bill Openthalton 03 Jun 2014 at 7:11 pm

    homeopathyworks –

    As a matter of fact, Mr Dimpfel is Chairman of Neurocode AG, a science-for-hire outfit:

    Contract Research PDF Print E-mail
    Written by Prof. Dr. Wilfried Dimpfel
    Wednesday, 06 November 2013 13:54

    NeuroCode AG Offers Contract Research
    in

    Preclinical Drug Development
    Clinical Trials
    Advertisement Research

    Ten years of experience guarantee best performance in using neuerophysiological methods during drug and market research

    [from the Neurocode AG website]

    He who pays the piper calls the tune.

  39. Guy Chapmanon 03 Jun 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Ullman loves to cite the studies that support his beliefs, but as we’ve seen in the past he stands on shifting ground. One week it’s the memory of water, the next it’s nanoparticles. As each conjecture is refuted another seamlessly takes its place, just as Eurasia becomes Eastasia in mid-sentence in 1984.

    Remember when Montagnier supposedly provided the clinching proof of homeopathy? And then he said that his work cannot be extrapolated to the substances used in homeopathy? Oops! Remember when a Swiss Government health technology assessment concluded that homeopathy is safe and effective, and then it turned out that it was not a Swiss government document, not a health technology assessment, contained massive undeclared conflicts of interest, reversed the normal hierarchy of evidence in order to support a pre-existing conclusion, and to cap it all, the process of which it was part resulted in the *removal* of reimbursement for homeopathy! Oops!

    But then, we know that he systematically misrepresents sources. That was why he was banned from Wikipedia, after all. He still claims that Darwin “owed his life” to homeopathy despite the mountain of evidence showing that Darwin was utterly contemptuous of it. He still claims that Nightingale supported it, missing the significance of her dismissive claim that, being inert, it was suitable for the “reckless physicking of amateur females”. For Ullman, facts must be bent to the service of belief.

    That’s the problem for homeopathy apologists like Ullman. Every time they seize a straw to stop them form drowning, they sink the straw and end up right back where they started – but with one less straw left floating. There are few, if any, left by now.

    Ullman appears to think that his favoured results present an unanswerable case for hoemopathy. He does not appear to understand that they are completely consistent with the scientific understanding of homeopathy, and raise no new questions of their own. Science has a complete explanation for the observations of homeopathy which is internally and externally consistent, and requires no ad-hoc hypotheses. Placebo effects, expectation effects, observer biases, regression to the mean, natural history of disease and so on – all things which are universal, which complicate any observation of any therapeutic intervention, yet homeopaths apparently believe that they alone are immune. What hubris.

    As Sagan pointed out, in order for a chain of logic to prevail, every link in the chain must hold up. In the case of homeopathy, we have some relatively weak evidence of effect, which is never specific and repeatable (there is no remedy at normal homeopathic potencies that repeatably and objectively resolves any specific condition). There is no evidence that like cures like as a general or widespread principle. There is no evidence that dilution increases potency. There is no evidence that “potentisation” (aka dilution and twerking) causes any relevant effect. There is no evidence of any universal and persistent property of matter that survives at normal homeopathic potencies. There is no evidence that this is transferrable by an intermediary. There is no evidence of any biological mechanism by which this can be transferred to the human body. There is no objective measurement that can distinguish remedies as normally presented,. There is no objective test that can detect their presence int he body. For homeopathy to work, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, the second law of thermodynamics and the law of mass action would all have to be completely wrong.

    And we’re expected to sweep all this under the carpet because a few trials by true believers produce a result that is statistically greater than one part of the null hypothesis, but ignores most of the null hypothesis.

    And Dana Ullman is actually crowing on Twitter about hos he has taught the pesky skeptics a lesson. Well, that part is accurate in its way, I guess, it’s just not the lesson he thinks.

  40. homeopathyworkson 03 Jun 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Use your ‘null hypothesis’ as a broom and start sweeping.

  41. Willyon 03 Jun 2014 at 10:27 pm

    I’m new to posting on this site, so I just want to ask the folks who are supporting homeopathy what the mechanism is that makes homeopathy work? By what mechanism does water “remember” anything? Why doesn’t it remember the time Abraham Lincoln peed (or took a crap) into the Potomac? Surely you must understand that it is important to provide an actual mechanism for your…hypothesis.

  42. GloriaLon 03 Jun 2014 at 11:03 pm

    “Homeopathy, put simply, does not work.” Good lord! No one told my general practitioner or my ophthalmologist that!!! If they had, neither of them would have believed it. They’ve both been performing regular testing every six months and watching my progress with homeopathic treatment for high blood pressure and high intraocular pressure caused by glaucoma. At this point, someone is bound to cry “unverifiable anecdotal evidence”. My doctors (board certified) call it clinical evidence, and you can be sure they like what they’ve seen. My ophthalmologist told me a few months ago that he isn’t following me as a glaucoma patient anymore. My GP notes that my blood pressure has been normal for several years now. What could be better news? And it happened safely and inexpensively. Also I’ve been able to stop using the remedies without those pressures moving upward again.

    On top of that I didn’t have to take the risk of developing iatrogenic diseases like gout or Steven Johnson syndrome (a very painful way to die for those who don’t know about it) because I took conventional drugs. Those drugs would only have controlled the symptoms. They would never have cured the condition. I would have had to take them for the rest of my life just to control the symptoms. The monthly costs would have been a delight to drug companies and a disaster for my pocketbook. (Medical costs are the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S.) As if that were not enough, I’d have to take more drugs — again for the rest of my life — to control the symptoms of the diseases caused by the initial drugs. More drugs……more symptoms……more dollars out the window equals poorer health.

    My doctors and I aren’t the only ones who appreciate the beauties of homeopathy. There are 500 million other people and 1/2 million practitioners who share the knowledge. Makes a handful of “skeptics” look pretty meager.

    Anyone who would like to see case records of cures of conditions from cancer to addiction to Rx drugs to psychogenic diabetes mellitus to coma can find them by googling “homeopathy cured cases”. There are an additional 25,000 volumes of cured case records that have come out of the clinical use of homeopathy in hundreds of millions of people over the past 200+ years.

  43. Leif1213on 04 Jun 2014 at 12:14 am

    Here’s my “home” trial… I took some “remedy” three years ago for seasonal allergies, I had no relief. After almost a week of choking on my runny nose, eyes watering so badly, I was offered another “remedy” that after another week didn’t work. It was explained that it could take weeks for my system to accept the remedy, and then it would work. I ended up getting walking pneumonia, a sinus infection, throat and ear infections. By this time, the “Dr” as they claimed to be failed to notice all the other “indications” due to the fact that they didn’t listen to my lungs with this instrument called a stethescope, not check my ears, or throat, take any samples for lab work, draw blood for WBC count.

    My conclusions, after two other no cure “remedies” are that homeopathic |medicine” works only on homeopathic illnesses. Which I feel are best described as curing nonexistent conditions with nonexistant cures.

    Either that, or my body cannot recognize the memory of a substance left on a molecule of distilled water.

  44. GloriaLon 04 Jun 2014 at 12:27 am

    Karl…….

    You’re behind the times. Way behind. For starters, in 1951-3 Gay and Boiron tested both distilled water and Nat mur 27c for their dielectic constant. They were able to show that the potency of Nat mur could easily be selected from among 99 control bottles.

    To distinguish a homeopathic remedy from the control:

    Fourier Transform InfraRed Spectrum (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16296914)
    BioElectrography (http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/107555303321222928)
    nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, Raman Laser Spectroscopy (http://www.hpathy.com/homeopathyforums/forum_posts.asp?TID=6908&PN=4)
    nuclear spectroscopy (http://hpathy.com/homeopathyforums/forum_posts.asp?TID=8879)

    To distinguish one remedy from another:

    Nuclear magnetic resonance
    Raman Laser Spectroscopy
    Nuclear Spectroscopy
    By measuring the physiological variability in the human body

    Current research disproves your claim that there are no detectable particles in potencies at 12c and higher. Nano-particles can be detected in verum remedies versus placebo with refined spectroscopic analysis. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23083226)

    Also see “Extreme homeopathy dilutions retain starting materials: A nano-particulate perspective” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20970092)

    Nano-technology is very big business today with conventional medicine eager to get in on the game.

  45. GloriaLon 04 Jun 2014 at 1:01 am

    Ekko……

    It’s good of you to admit that homeopathic remedies kill cancer cells and that the control “also kills cancer cells”. As to your claim that the alcohol killed the cells, use your own link and go to page 397 of the study where you can read:

    “Among the four remedies investigated, carcinosin and phytolacca reproducibly revealed relatively higher inhibitory effects in replicate experiments. These two remedies reduced viability of the MCF-7 cells by 60 – 75% at 5 ul/ml and by 70 80% at 10 ul/ml doses after 48 and 72 hour treatments respectively. The SOLVENT, on the other hand, caused reduction in survival of the two cell lines by 30 – 35% under the SAME CIRCUMSTANCES.

    The study contains almost nine pages (not none per you) of analysis, graphs and the mechanism of the homeopathics including the observed mechanism of action which was the upregulation and downregulation by the homeopathic of specific functions.

    No matter how many foolish claims “skeptics” make about homeopathy, the fact remains that it’s being used by more and more people because they want curative, safe medicine. It’s being incorporated into more and more hospital formularies for the same reasons. It’s being supported by more and more governments and offered on national health care programs for those same reasons. Belgium and the U.S. are the two most recent to recognize homeopathy in these ways. The Portugese Health Ministry will be giving homeopathic remedies their seal of approval soon too.

  46. grabulaon 04 Jun 2014 at 1:53 am

    @homeopathydoesn’twork

    “Homeopathy skeptics will have millions more homeopathy supporters to debate”

    ah yes, argument ad populi…

    “The health care industry is profit driven ”

    I fixed that for you.

    “Fact = There are many more homeopathy supporters (500 million) than homeopathy skeptics (being generous maybe 100,000 tops world-wide on a good day). ”

    Citation please.

    “. Have I missed where the skeptics have conducted research trials proving that homeopathy is not effective? ”

    Apparently you missed where homeopaths and scientists have conducted this research, to no avail. Maybe you missed the originating blog post, or Dr. Novellas follow ups?

  47. the devils gummy bearon 04 Jun 2014 at 2:47 am

    Was it naïve to assume the homeopath trolls wouldn’t be caustic or toxic?

  48. grabulaon 04 Jun 2014 at 2:58 am

    @Devilsgummy

    “Was it naïve to assume the homeopath trolls wouldn’t be caustic or toxic?”

    Wouldn’t you be if science was making your magical world smaller everyday?

  49. jasontimothyjoneson 04 Jun 2014 at 4:28 am

    I keep noticing something that always appears in discussions (lets just call them discussions) re Homeopathy;

    Nearly always without fail the pro side have some skin in the game, they have money to be made, book and pills to be sold, however those on the side of science and evidence do not.

    To quote Dr Novella once again

    ‘Show me one proven indication for homeopathy – meaning a systematic review of multiple trials of reasonable quality that concluded the evidence is sufficient to conclude homeopathy works’.

    can you do that?….no, it would be easier to prove that Sting Theory and Quantum loop gravity both exist in a cardboard box in my back room

  50. Ori Vandewalleon 04 Jun 2014 at 11:42 am

    @the devils gummy bear

    I was working under the assumption that homeopath supporters would be too diluted to be caustic or toxic.

  51. DanaUllmanon 04 Jun 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Has anyone else noticed the TOTAL silence in reference to the body of clinical AND basic science evidence for homeopathy and the treatment of respiratory allergies?

    Has anyone else noticed that people ask for evidence but do NOT even read the evidence when it is provided?

    How convenient!

    BTW, here’s another study from researchers at MD Anderson:
    Pathak S, Multani AS, Banerji P, Banerji P., Ruta 6 selectively induces cell death in brain cancer cells but proliferation in normal peripheral blood lymphocytes: A novel treatment for human brain cancer. Int J Oncol. 2003 Oct;23(4):975-82.

    And Chapman loves to spew misinformation. Too many to count. One cannot trust a thing he says. Heck, he even gets history wrong…and he KNOWS he is wrong! He quotes Florence Nightingale earlier in her life when she showed disdain for homeopathy…but then, she went to a homeopath herself (James Manby Gully, MD). She was so impressed that she recommended that her father get homeopathic treatment too. Is THIS the attitude of a person with disdain for homeopathy?

  52. Bruceon 04 Jun 2014 at 3:00 pm

    “Has anyone else noticed the TOTAL silence in reference to the body of clinical AND basic science evidence for homeopathy and the treatment of respiratory allergies?”

    Yes, have you noticed it?

    “Has anyone else noticed that people ask for evidence but do NOT even read the evidence when it is provided?

    How convenient!”

    How convenient for you that anyone who does read the evidence and dismisses it publicly is labelled a spewer of misinformation.

  53. Steven Novellaon 04 Jun 2014 at 3:34 pm

    The most recent systematic review of the research in homeopathy and respiratory allergies – not by Ullman – concluded:
    “The evidence for individualised homeopathic therapy in the field of upper respiratory tract infections and for homeopathic immunotherapy in respiratory allergies is more conflicting.”

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=homeopathy%2C+respiratory+allergies

    So we have preliminary, pragmatic, and observational studies with some clinical trials with “conflicting” results.

    To recap – the diarrhea literature consists of three small studies – all by the same researcher (and a meta-analysis by the same author again). No independent replication. Her fourth study is negative.

    Do you see the pattern here – the research is preliminary with mixed results, exactly what we would expect from a treatment that doesn’t work. Ullman, however, characterizes this as a “slam dunk” and then wonders why when independent researchers review the researcher, including formal reviews for the UK, Belgium, Switzerland, and Australia – they all conclude that the evidence is negative or inadequate.

    We have documented here and on science-based medicine, quoting from recent research into the medical literature, that there is a huge false positive bias in the medical research, with publication bias and researcher bias. In order to conclude that a treatment probably works (to justify rejecting the null hypothesis) you need multiple high quality studies by independent researchers showing a consistent result with reasonable signal to noise ratio.

    We don’t have that for any homeopathic treatment for anything. Ullman just doesn’t get this, so he keeps blaming his own ignorance (or blinding bias) on skeptics.

    And keep in mind – this is all with a treatment that has a prior probability as close to zero as you can get in science. Ullman should be introduced to Bayes.

  54. steve12on 04 Jun 2014 at 4:10 pm

    “Has anyone else noticed the TOTAL silence in reference to the body of clinical AND basic science evidence for homeopathy and the treatment of respiratory allergies?”

    Most of them have been responded to before

    “Bell IR, Koithan M. A model for homeopathic remedy effects: low dose nanoparticles, allostatic cross-adaptation, and time-dependent sensitization in a complex adaptive system. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012 Oct 22;12(1):191.
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1472-6882-12-191.pdf (this is an exceptional review of the basic sciences literature that explains how homeopathic medicines may work)”

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/12/17/just-how-stupid-do-homeopaths-think-we-are/

    “Frass, M, Dielacher, C, Linkesch, M, et al. Influence of potassium dichromate on tracheal secretions in critically ill patients, Chest, March, 2005;127:936-941. Published in the leading journal on respiratory medicine, this study shows remarkable results in treating the #4 reason that people in the USA die. Conducted at the University of Vienna Hospital.”

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/homeopathy-in-the-icu/

    “Bell IR, Lewis II DA, Brooks AJ, et al. Improved clinical status in fibromyalgia patients treated with individualized homeopathic remedies versus placebo, Rheumatology. 2004:1111-5. Published in the leading journal on its subject, this study showed clinically relevant improvements from homeopathy as well as influences on objective EEG readings.”

    This one I looked at because I was interested in the EEG results. It did not disappoint!

    The original study show very modest pain reductions for a few people people getting homeopathic remedies compared to placebo in people with fibromyalgia (I won’t even go into the obvious problems of using fibromyalgia patients for this type of thing). These are the kind of effect sizes that you really need independent replication to believe, which we already know is a problem for homeopathy. The EEG part, though, is great. The authors said it was better detailed in this paper:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15165409

    They took the 6 best responders and found:
    “Exceptional responders versus other patients exhibited significantly more negative initial EEG-C difference scores at prefrontal sites. Right prefrontal cordance findings correlated with subsequently reduced pain (r = 0.85, p = 0.03), better global health (r =-0.73, p = 0.10), and trait absorption (genetically determined ability to focus attention selectively and fully) (r = 0.91, p = 0.012).”

    So let’s get past the part that they didn’t compare groups (say with median split) or placebo vs. “active” or any of that. They cherry picked the top 6 “responders”.

    But that’s not the best part. They found that the largest correlation with EEG was trait absorption, which has been shown to predict magnitude of placebo effect. That’s right – they found that the people most susceptible to the placebo effect showed the greatest pain reduction. That is, if you can believe a correlation with 6 people.

    But THAT IS NOT THE BEST PART!

    The best part is THEIR explanation for the high correlation with trait absorption, despite the more obvious one I pointed out.

    “The strength of the absorption correlation with the cordance
    findings could represent an artifact of the small sample
    size. However, if reproducible, these observations raise
    another consideration (i.e., that high absorption is a marker
    of the individual’s capacity for merging into a proposed
    macroentanglement between the larger patient-practitionerremedy-
    symptom system; Hyland, 2003; Milgrom, 2002b;
    Walach, 2003). Entanglement is the quantum mechanical
    construct used to account for the reliable empirical observation
    of nonlocal effects demonstrated in physical science
    research at the subatomic level. Change in one element of
    a system occurs simultaneously in another part of the system
    independent of the distance between the parts. Some investigators
    have proposed that entanglement occurs at a
    macro- as well as microlevel of scale. Clinically, high absorption
    predicts increased numbers of reported experiences
    with nonlocal, anomalous phenomena (Kennedy et al., 1994;
    Thalbourne et al., 1997). Therefore, from an entanglement
    perspective, the cordance difference scores might mark the
    instantaneous perception of the simillimum or correct remedy
    by the whole system, as registered through the heightened
    receptivity of the high-absorbing patient who is part of
    a larger system.”

    So no one’s ignoring you Dana. But when you try to pass shit off as research, it gets old.

    That said, the QM nugget at the end was worth wading in said shit. And I want to thank you for that Dana.

  55. GloriaLon 04 Jun 2014 at 6:19 pm

    Willy……

    You’re not just new to this site, you’re new to playing “skeptic”. You’re also new to the field of medicine. Why doesn’t the water remember Abraham Lincoln’s pee……….that’s an old, tired, worn out “argument” that James Randi’s volunteers (perhaps you’re one of them?) used to use but have given up because it made them look foolish.

    So let’s get back to medicine. Have you ever asked yourself why Calamine Lotion (also made with water) doesn’t contain everything that’s ever passed through it? No? I thought not. The answer is simple: Calamine Lotion is made with distilled water. Homeopathics are made with double-distilled water. In addition to that, the manufacturer uses additional quantities of material in order to drown out the “noise” of any impurities that might be left behind.

    Here’s another question for you: If you were going to have an appendectomy, would you agree to anesthesia? Please remember that there are no RCT’s on surgery and we don’t know how anesthesia works. If your doctor recommended that you take a psychotropic drug, would you agree knowing that no one knows their mechanism of action? If you developed shingles or had epilepsy, would you take Gafen knowing that no one knows how that works either?

    Willy, you painted yourself into a corner, but thanks for coming anyway!

  56. Ekkoon 04 Jun 2014 at 6:47 pm

    GloriaL,
    You completely misunderstood Willy’s point and question, probably intentionally, but maybe not.
    His point was that homeopathic dilutions usually do not contain any molecules of whatever substance was originally added to the water. Water does not have a “memory” so if you dilute it until none of the original active ingredients remain, then you have…just water. How does distilled water have anything to do with this? If water did have a memory, how would it preferentially remember one substance over another after all have been diluted into non-existence anyway? This is why people laugh at homeopathy and call it implausible from the very beginning (plus the whole “dilution and shaking = more potent and like cures like nonsense).

  57. Ekkoon 04 Jun 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Ah – I see you are mentioning distilled water as far as removing past impurities. Great. Still doesn’t address the main issue of water not having a memory to start with.

  58. Bronze Dogon 04 Jun 2014 at 6:59 pm

    *headdesk*
    We know why distillation works. It ends up removing actual molecules of not-water from water. No diluted ingredient means that ingredient is no longer there to have an effect.

    Homeopathy depends on something other than having molecules of solute in the water. So why would distilling water eliminate this something? It certainly doesn’t seem as obvious as you pretend it is.

    RCTs are the gold standard when it’s feasible and ethical to do them. That doesn’t mean that they’re the one and only thing we’ll accept. There are other levels of evidence quality between RCT and credulous anecdotes.

  59. Ekkoon 04 Jun 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Her examples are all fairly terrible as well. By Gafen I guess she means Gabapentin, for which the mechanism if action is well known. Various anasthetic drugs also have known mechanisms of action – maybe some don’t, not sure, but they clearly work, unlike homeopathy. Psychotropic/psychoactive could mean anything from coffee to morphine to antidepressants to alcohol.

  60. zorrobanditoon 04 Jun 2014 at 7:38 pm

    “Health care consumers also don’t give a wit about RCTs or double blind studies that the skeptics keep demanding for “proof” that homeopathy works.”

    Sorry, this one does. A remedy which cannot show by double blind studies that it works is out of court with me.

    Oh well I might get into a hot tub or some other fun or feel-good situation because it feels good, but I’m certainly going to ignore claims that it has some specific health benefit until those can be demonstrated.

  61. GloriaLon 04 Jun 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Ekko…….

    No one has contended that dilutions above 12c do contain molecules of the original substance. Current research shows they contain nano-particles of those substances. You might look into nano-technology and find out why drug companies are interested in using it to make their chemo drugs — but then, again, you may not so here’s a hint……..to reduce the side effects (one is death) of their drugs.

  62. Steven Novellaon 04 Jun 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Gloria – not knowing the exact mechanism of action is NOT the same thing as not having any possible mechanism of action. Homeopathy would require rewriting the physics textbooks.

    Not only does water not have memory – keep in mind what would be necessary. The water would need to somehow imprint chemical information (or some kind of magical information) and last through successive dilutions, and then further last when placed on a sugar pill, and then transfer the memory to the sugar pill, (because the water evaporates) and last while digested in the body, and then somehow get transported to where it needs to go.

    This is not just unknown. It’s impossible by everything we currently know.

    And homeopaths still cannot answer the question of why decades of clinical trials have yet to demonstrate any effectiveness (despite Ullman’s linking to low grade evidence that does not demonstrate efficacy). Saying that consumers don’t need evidence is a pathetic dodge. No one here is buying it.

  63. Steven Novellaon 04 Jun 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Gloria – you are steeped in homeopathy propaganda. The nanoparticle thing is nonsense that has not been demonstrated by research. You are relying on fringe preliminary research, not anything that has been reliably demonstrated and accepted.

    It is hypocritical of you to cite only the research you want, and ignore or dismiss the rest, especially when you are citing selectively only the worst research.

    The systematic reviews have been done. Homeopaths have had the chance to make their case. Universally their claims are not only rejected, but they are criticized for their dishonesty and dubious methods.

  64. DanaUllmanon 04 Jun 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Steven…it seems that every one of your post shows sloppy scholarship. You wrote:

    “The most recent systematic review of the research in homeopathy and respiratory allergies – not by Ullman – concluded:
    “The evidence for individualised homeopathic therapy in the field of upper respiratory tract infections and for homeopathic immunotherapy in respiratory allergies is more conflicting.”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=homeopathy%2C+respiratory+allergies

    And yet, your link is not to ANY specific article (how convenient!).

    You then point to the studies by Jacobs, et al on childhood diarrhea…and you actually assert that the results had “mixed results.” You KNOW that this is NOT TRUE. The 3 studies each has significant results…and 242 children is not a small study. The 4th trial used a completely different and non-individually prescribed medicine.

    There is bullshit…there is elephant shit…and there is brontosaurus shit…and you consistently show that you are full of the latter. It is time for some fecal transplant for you.

  65. GloriaLon 04 Jun 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Steven……

    I see you’re steeped in scientism, not science. Can you provide proof that there is absolutely nothing left to learn about our universe? Of course, you can’t. Can you provide proof that water doesn’t have the ability to transmit information? Of course, you can’t. Claiming that there is no possible way that homeopathy could work is tantamount to claiming you have god-like knowledge.

    In fact, no one is claiming that homeopathy does work through the memory of water although it is factually incorrect to assume the memory of water contravenes basic scientific principles. There is a growing body of evidence from chemistry, from physics and from materials science which suggests that the properties of water may well depend on its dilution history. At this point, I have to point out that homeopathics are not made by dilution alone. The process also includes succussion.

    “Unexpected solute aggregation in water on dilution”, Chem Commun, 2001

    “Thermodynamics of extremely diluted aqueous solutions”, Ann NY Academy of Science, 1999

    “Thermoluminescence of ultra-high-dilutions of lithium chloride”, Pysica (A), 2003

    “The structure of liquid water: novel insights into materials research”, Mat Res Innov, 2005

    “Electromagnetic signals are produced by acqueous nanostructures derived from bacterial DNA sequences”, Interdiscip. Sci Comput Life Sci, 2009

    If you’re claiming nano-particles don’t exist in homeopathics, you have to prove it. If they don’t exist, can you explain why the medical industrial complex is so interested in them?

    Whether or not you accept homeopathy is irrelevant to the 500 million people who use it today because it works and because it’s safe. It’s irrelevant to the millions who have used it decade after decade because it works and because it’s safe.

    Homeopathic research is most often not done by homeopaths but, rather, by trained, respected researchers working at respected institutions. If you feel their work is “dubious” and “dishonest”, you should take it up with those researchers and those institutions. Of course, again, you will have to have proof.

  66. the devils gummy bearon 04 Jun 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Do you guys remember the Simpsons where Homer ran into the Flanders at the apple farm, and Ned launched into a mnemonic limerick on the differences between apple cider and apple juice?

    Homer’s brain said to Homer, “You can stay, but I’m leaving.” (Brain floats out of his head)

    Ned’s limerick goes on, and a vacantly staring Homer nods along for a few moments, but then his entire body collapses into a lifeless heap on the floor…

    I’m sorry GloriaL, but something like that just happened to me. I think my brain self-ejected at the word “scientism”.

  67. Ekkoon 04 Jun 2014 at 11:47 pm

    “Homeopathy is a promising area of research” – said by no respected scientist ever.
    GloriaL sounds desperate. The random unrelated citations are amusing though.

  68. grabulaon 05 Jun 2014 at 1:06 am

    Best quote ever! DanaUllman sez: “And for the record, the professional homeopaths only used 30C potencies, while the homeopathic formula contained doses that are “lower potencies” (mostly 6X potency…and THIS dose is clearly a material-laden dose”

    translation – the homeopathic formula contained more stuff so obviously couldn’t work!

    But homeopathydoesn’twork tries to top it with this doozy:

    “Of particular interest to me was the mention that there was an ‘even stronger response recorded’ when the dose was halved.”

    Gah, that’s the secret science has been missing, less actual stuff in the water, plus less of the water equals the miracle of homeopathy!

  69. mumadaddon 05 Jun 2014 at 4:24 am

    GloriaL,

    I see you’re steeped in scientism, not science. Can you provide proof that there is absolutely nothing left to learn about our universe? Of course, you can’t. Can you provide proof that water doesn’t have the ability to transmit information? Of course, you can’t. Claiming that there is no possible way that homeopathy could work is tantamount to claiming you have god-like knowledge.

    You first need to demonstrate an actual, repeatable effect in need of a new explanation. Then you need to systematically rule out known explanations. Only then can is it warranted to start looking for previously unknown effects. Homoeopathy fell at the first hurdle, and is still lying face down in the dirt while being trampled on by science.

    You’re also all over the map. You’ve just accused Steve of scientism, implying that there are ‘other ways of knowing’ or that ‘science doesn’t have all the answers’ whereas a few posts before that you were citing low grade scientific studies. Which is it, GloariaL? It’s seems you’ll decry science one moment but desperately latch on to anything that gives you the patina of scientific credibility.

  70. Willyon 05 Jun 2014 at 4:40 am

    @GloriaL

    Gosh, I don’t feel like I’m painted into a corner…

    Why does distillation remove “memory”? Do charcoal filters work too? Maybe Brita? What is the nature of the “memory” in water that distillation can remove it? Can you detect the memory?

    As to your questions about approved medications, I do understand that the mechanisms of some medications are not well understood, but they do have clinical evidence, and some thought processes, backing up their efficacy. They were not proposed as a brain fart by some dead guy a couple of centuries ago before the germ theory of disease was explained.

    The reason this matters to me is that I knew two people–both dead now–who chose “alternative” medicine over 1) demonstrated cancer treatment (you know, Big Med suppresses the truth of herbal remedies available in Mexico) and 2) cardio issues (Big Pharma suppresses the truth about garlic pills).

    Sorry to rehash old terrain (as you so, so perceptively noticed, I am a newbie here), but I’m guessing maybe you homeopath supporters have probably never really answered the Abe Lincoln question in any serious way to begin with. Well, we boil the water a couple of times and that…

    Sorry, gotta go. Some aliens just landed in the back yard and they want a semen sample. My wife is already into menopause, so they are foregoing the inspection of her female “stuff”.

    Enjoy your distilled water.

  71. Bill Openthalton 05 Jun 2014 at 7:23 am

    Glorial –

    I see you’re steeped in scientism, not science. Can you provide proof that there is absolutely nothing left to learn about our universe? Of course, you can’t. Can you provide proof that water doesn’t have the ability to transmit information? Of course, you can’t. Claiming that there is no possible way that homeopathy could work is tantamount to claiming you have god-like knowledge.

    This is glorious.

    First, when homeopathic remedies are tested the way any other remedy is tested, they never work. We only need to worry about how homeopathy could work when it would work, but it doesn’t. The problem with human diseases is that for otherwise healthy sufferers, the vast majority of diseases don’t need any treatment. Absent medical facilities, enough people will live long and well enough to ensure the race continues. We seek treatment to reduce the duration and effects of diseases. If you give people nothing and they get better, it doesn’t mean we have to explain how nothing cures the disease. Only when a treatment is more effective than doing nothing we can start to wonder why it does what it does.

    It’s not because there remains a lot to learn that all knowledge is suspect, or all cockamamie ideas should be taken seriously. We know enough about the properties of water to be certain it does not have a persistent memory of what was solved in it.

  72. Bill Openthalton 05 Jun 2014 at 7:29 am

    Glorial –

    Continued from above. Sorry for the incomplete post, I fat-fingered the shift and control keys.

    We know enough about mechanics to be certain succussion does nothing. We know enough about the functioning of the human body to be certain the the law of similes is nonsense.

    The ludicrous theories behind homeopathy simply confirm our observations — it does not work.

  73. BillyJoe7on 05 Jun 2014 at 7:47 am

    It wouldn’t matter so much if it was only that homoeopathy does not work, but the tragedy is that it does actual harm – by drawing patients away from effective treatements and effective vaccines.
    (Note to Gloria: homoeopathy does not cure cancer. Please do not ever use it for that purpose)

  74. JustinWilsonon 05 Jun 2014 at 8:48 am

    As a casual reader of this blog and someone who doesn’t really give a crap one way or the other, I would like to give you my impression of the post/comments discussion.

    Steve: Here is why this doesn’t work…
    Ullman: You’re a jackass! You don’t know what you’re talking about.
    Steve: Oh! This is where thinking gets sloppy.
    Ullman: OMG! You’re human scum!
    Steve: Did I forget these references?
    Ullman: Douche-bag!

    I don’t really know who Ullman really is, but he sounds like an asshole and should probably just be put to the side in any honest and open discussion of homeopathy.

  75. steve12on 05 Jun 2014 at 10:45 am

    Dana said:

    “Has anyone else noticed that people ask for evidence but do NOT even read the evidence when it is provided?
    How convenient!”

    But when I followed up on some some of his links he doesn’t reply. How convenient!

  76. Bronze Dogon 05 Jun 2014 at 11:29 am

    It’s not completely impossible for there to be a mechanism that would allow something like homeopathy to work. But that’s not saying much. There are a lot of things that are possible but with the level of success we’ve had with our current theories of physics and chemistry, it’d require an absurd amount of dumb luck that we got it wrong in such a consistent fashion, or extraordinarily strange and narrow exceptions we haven’t studied because they don’t come up often enough to catch our attention. The problem is whether it’s plausible enough to consider.

    Bear in mind, I’m not talking about research specifically into homeopathy’s medical applications, I’m talking about research into the properties of water, alcohol, and anything that’s ever been dissolved in them. If water had memory, or could store some sort of quantum information, someone would have noticed by now and developed applications simpler than medicine, like maybe water memory-based computing. If there was a conspiracy to cover up homeopathy or a purely ideological opposition to it, it would probably have to include every research chemist (medical and non-medical) who’s ever conducted an experiment involving water. I doubt there are many excluded from that criterion.

    If homeopaths want to overthrow mainstream physics and chemistry, they need to make better predictions and account for why the existing consensus theories of chemistry and physics work so well despite their non-recognition of that mechanism.

    It fails the first, since it can’t do what it claims to do: Treat medical issues at a better rate than placebo. It doesn’t work, meaning its predictions fail. If its predictions fail, why bother speculating on how it works? It also fails in more subtle ways, since, to my knowledge, they can’t identify the difference between two different remedies, or have a procedure to test a remedy if there’s a suspicion of mislabeling. If you’re using a mechanism, I would expect you’d be able to accurately detect that mechanism in some fashion. Some homeopathic remedies warn of the dangers of overdosing, but skeptics have been able to publicly consume large amounts with no noticeable effects.

    If we ignore the history of failed predictions and look at the speculated mechanisms for the purpose of evaluating prior plausibility, it seems to me that homeopathy still comes up short on explaining why our known laws still work as predicted despite water being everywhere, allegedly collecting memories that might interfere with its properties. They only seem to care about the memory of water, quantum effects, or whatever when it’s being used for homeopathy, as if it’s only relevant to the narrow topic of homeopathy. Gloria brought up distillation as wiping the water’s memory, but as yet no explanation as to why it would wipe the water’s memory. Mainstream chemistry tells us that distillation removes the effect of chemicals in the water by actually removing those chemicals from the water.

    Instead of thinking about stuff like this, we’re expected to believe that some guy just stumbled on medical (and therefore complex) applications of a difficult to detect property of water using primitive tools and magical thinking. Meanwhile, we still can’t find this property in our increasingly sophisticated physics and chemistry labs. This just seems outrageously implausible.

    This is the problem with a lot of quackery. It works backwards. Someone long ago develops an alleged solution to complex problems (medicine) and much later, people try to develop an explanation for how it works, and often give that in response to critics who point out that it doesn’t work. Science advances the right way: Pure research tells us how reality works at the simplest levels first and builds upward from there. Others use that knowledge to hypothesize an application of that knowledge to complex problems. Then they see if it works as expected before releasing it to the market.

  77. Willyon 05 Jun 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Nano-particles! (Slap forehead) How could we have forgotten about nano-particles! Did the tests reveal what portion of the water molecule becomes a nano-particle? Not being a particle physicist, I’m guessing the NPs are probably quarks–maybe the strange ones?

    Having seen the brilliance and science that you have offered me, a mere newbie, I am dumbfounded that the fools on this blog have been able to argue with you for more than a few back-and-forths without caving to your obvious truths. I haven’t felt this stupid since a creationist woke me up to the truth by pointing out we couldn’t have evolved from monkeys since monkeys still exist.

  78. Willyon 05 Jun 2014 at 2:40 pm

    But wait–nano-particles are molecules…

  79. grabulaon 06 Jun 2014 at 1:00 am

    @JustinWilson

    “I don’t really know who Ullman really is, but he sounds like an asshole and should probably just be put to the side in any honest and open discussion of homeopathy.”

    Ullman is a woo proponent of the worst (best?) kind.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dana_Ullman

    He definitely believes in the more bizarre parts of homeopathy, including ‘water memory’ and so on. As with all proponents he sticks to loose or bad evidence to support his argument and he’s pretty angry people aren’t buying his crap. I suspect this is a drive by with Ullman and a couple of supporters (homeopathydoesn’twork). Happens all the time. They sort of show up when they’re favorite sacred cow is being attacked, shotgun blast some faulty evidence and some ad hominems then go back to whatever homeopathy dungeon they came out of to succus each other.

  80. DanaUllmanon 07 Jun 2014 at 10:53 am

    It is so interesting to observe that I have posted MANY high quality randomized double-blind and placebo controlled trials published in high-impact journals (BMJ, Lancet, Pediatrics, Chest, Rheumatology) and in leading methodology journals (Journal of Clinical Epidemiology), and yet, there are still total nut cases, like Bill Openthalt, who actually says, “when homeopathic remedies are tested the way any other remedy is tested, they never work.” Yet, NO ONE here has the intelligence or honesty to correct him (how convenient).

    Further, no one respond adequately to any of the above references, except Novella, who I then blow out of the water by showing his lack of academic rigor.

    And this educational exercise will still lead Novella and others to continue to provide misinformation while claiming that they believe in “science.” The only thing that folks here “prove” is that ignorance and arrogance represent a truly bad combination of traits for having or maintaining a scientific attitude…but THAT is not what this discussion is about…it seems to be how can I attack homeopathy, provide misinformation about homeopathy, attack homeopaths, and blame homeopaths for the problems with health care…that stupid.

  81. steve12on 07 Jun 2014 at 11:04 am

    “Further, no one respond adequately to any of the above references, ”

    Ha ha!!!!! What about the EEG study I responded to Dana? The one that showed the greatest effects of homeopathy in those most likely to benefit from placebo effect?

    Of course, the authors interp was that people like this are more open and therefore more likely to enter into quantum macro-entanglement with the homeopath! HA!

    You linked it, so PLEASE try and defend that Dana. PLEEEEAAASSSEEEE!

  82. steve12on 07 Jun 2014 at 11:16 am

    I will say this:

    The normal fishing and P-hacking that goes on in the actual scientific community has a lot to do with our having to wade through “significant” results in nonsense fields like homeopathy. When we add together all of these common practices, we get a lot of Type I errors in biological sciences.

    It just follows, then, that complete nonsense like homeopathy or Bem’s psi experiment are going to use the same standard and techniques, affording them the same Type I errors to call their own.

    We’re all under a TON of pressure to publish (can’t understate this), but so long as p-hacking techniques are part of our statistical canon, we will have to suffer with this sort of nonsense.

    IOW, we need to take some responsibility for all of this as well.

  83. Willyon 07 Jun 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Someone asked whom Dana Ullman might be–I’m thinking he might be found here: https://www.homeopathic.com/.

  84. BillyJoe7on 07 Jun 2014 at 7:36 pm

    DUllman,

    The truth is that most of us are sick to death of beating a dead horse.
    All those trials have been gone into in infinite detail and debunked, debunked, and debunked yet again!
    It gets tiring.

    There is no plausible mechanism.
    There is no good evidence that it works.
    There is good evidence that it does not work.

    And there are good reasons why some believe it works when it quite cleary can’t and don’t.

    The horse is dead.
    Move on.

  85. Willyon 07 Jun 2014 at 8:27 pm

    A fellow anti-creationist once commented in our local paper that the creationists had been beating a dead horse so long that there was no stink left. Probably not original with him, but it stuck in my mind.

  86. BillyJoe7on 07 Jun 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Well, Willy, there are people like DUllman who are proof that the horse still stinks. (:

  87. Willyon 07 Jun 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Amen!

  88. grabulaon 08 Jun 2014 at 12:58 am

    @QuackUllman

    ” who I then blow out of the water by showing his lack of academic rigor.”

    Correcting him on your publishing date isn’t exactly blowing him or anyone out of the water lol. Focus on the details that don’t matter I guess, redirection much?

  89. Steven Novellaon 08 Jun 2014 at 8:25 am

    Dana – then how do you explain the multiple independent systematic reviews that I have cited multiple times that all agree that the clinical evidence does not support the efficacy of any homeopathic remedy for anything? You have yet to address this key issue.

    You can always cherry pick the studies you want. Positive studies are not enough, because of all the reasons explored extensively on this blog (researcher bias, publication bias, P-hacking). Systematic reviews with independent replication are needed, and lacking in homeopathy.

    Bottom line – the evidence does not support homeopathy. You claim that low quality evidence is sufficient to reject the null hypothesis, even when prior plausibility is close to zero. The Jacobs research is just one example – three small studies by the same researcher without any independent replication. Pathetic.

  90. Steven Novellaon 08 Jun 2014 at 8:29 am

    BTW – reprinting a paper from almost 20 years ago is still a way of cherry picking obsolete data, and doesn’t get you off the hook.

  91. tmac57on 08 Jun 2014 at 9:40 am

    From Merriam Webster’s Dictionary:

    “Homeopathy-is-an-effective-treatment-for-all-disease-and-it-is-valid-to-cherry-pick-research-that-will-confirm-your-bias”

    Proof!!!

  92. Bruceon 08 Jun 2014 at 11:46 am

    “who I then blow out of the water by showing his lack of academic rigor.”

    No one ever blows someone in the water. I imagine water might get swallowed…

  93. jasontimothyjoneson 09 Jun 2014 at 4:50 am

    This thread is very Homephobic

    mwha ha ha

  94. jasontimothyjoneson 09 Jun 2014 at 4:51 am

    i mean Homeophobic…. damm it, its not as funny if you spell it wrong first time around

  95. BillyJoe7on 09 Jun 2014 at 7:01 am

    Try homoeophobic…whatever…not really funny in any case.

  96. jasontimothyjoneson 09 Jun 2014 at 8:35 am

    it was funny in my head, thats all that counts

  97. Bruceon 09 Jun 2014 at 8:48 am

    just like how homeopathy only works in the head.

  98. BillyJoe7on 09 Jun 2014 at 9:26 am

    JTJ, not if you’re a comedian it’s not.

  99. tmac57on 09 Jun 2014 at 9:45 am

    BJ7- Are you saying that jason is diluting himself?

  100. Bruceon 09 Jun 2014 at 3:30 pm

    A homeopathic joke… the less funny it is, the more funny it is… or something.

  101. tootson 09 Jun 2014 at 9:59 pm

    @DanaUllman

    That EEG paper. It occurs to me that a RCT of identified high absorption patients randomised to homeopathic preparations or ordinary purified water would clarify matters. Absent that, and there’s nothing to discuss.

  102. M_Morganon 10 Jun 2014 at 1:51 am

    This a classic of a site. Dr Novella has his say, and the vultures congregate. What we do know is that medical science stuffs up regularly and at times monumentally. You can try to debate the value of fat to heart function, for example, but you get nowhere. Opinions with some bases, that’s all, and I am more than happy to listen to alternatives given the track record of medical science.

    The problem with medicine is linked to the problem with science generally – ignorance combined with hubris. Everyone has the latest word, or so they say. Take the superficial theory of Natural selection for example, which underlies much medical (and psychological) thinking. A single cell grows to reproduce by being nurtured by its environment – wow. It doesn’t do anything on its own, so it must be supported by its surrounds at every turn. This becomes ridiculous Selection narratives using what has fortuitously evolved by “random” mutation. Who says mutation is random? Does Epigenetics take that position currently? Who says we are happy accidents? Aren’t there are laws of nature that determine chemical bonding from a single cell into a reproducing anatomy, and chemical bonding as mutations. The problem is we do not know those laws sufficiently well to explain evolution in CAUSAL terms, and we are satisfied with looking at what has mutated to find correlations to its surrounds – ex post.

    Correct this by looking at what DNA is constructing in the first place when it mutates. I will save the issue of mutation itself and whether it is random to chapter 14 on my free work at http://sdrv.ms/1a4HBbk Looking at what DNA can construct using available environmental chemicals reveals how evolution proceeds. Do not look at what has evolved – look at what can evolve if DNA (a bare strand with enzymes and RNA assisting it) uses what is available to it in the non-living chemical environment. Our anatomy uses the functional capacities of non-living chemicals gathered from the environment – liquids (circulation) solids (digestion), gasses (respiration) and more. These chemical do not change their capacities to flow, expand, or drop, simply because DNA constructs anatomies around their usage.

    That’s why the mostly incomprehensible, but sometimes sensible, views of Homeopaths are interesting – to broaden ones’ view beyond the simple-minded approach of the vultures above. The connection of non-living and living chemical structures is in building our functional anatomies within “like” environments of liquids, gasses, and solids. It builds cells using environmental chemicals to grow from one cell and live till reproduction. Cackle as much as you like vultures, but until you know more about the connections between DNA and non-living chemicals, and how chemicals create mutations (including cancers), you are an impediment to progress. Tiny minds with nothing better to do than type (badly).

  103. the devils gummy bearon 10 Jun 2014 at 2:04 am

    Seriously, why am I not placing M_Morgan? For some reason, I seem to remember encounters with this person elsewhere. It’s like a hazy distant memory of a torture nightmare I had while undergoing ECT under heavy psychotropics. It’s weird. Why can’t I remember….

  104. M_Morganon 10 Jun 2014 at 2:23 am

    Evidently you ARE brain damaged, Fried.

  105. BillyJoe7on 10 Jun 2014 at 8:03 am

    A question for you Marcus Morgan:
    What does an evolutionary biologist mean by the word “random” in relation to mutations?

  106. DanaUllmanon 10 Jun 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Steven, your embarrassing and lame remark about my “posting” a 20-year old article is another one of your classic strawmen arguments. I’ve had that article at my website since 1996. Don’t YOU have an archive of your dated articles? Should we go to libraries and ask them to throw out all of their “old” books?

    You are better off not responding than responding in such dumb-ass ways…but thanx for providing more evidence of your daftness at its best.

  107. Bruceon 10 Jun 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Steve says:

    “Dana – then how do you explain the multiple independent systematic reviews that I have cited multiple times that all agree that the clinical evidence does not support the efficacy of any homeopathic remedy for anything? You have yet to address this key issue.
    You can always cherry pick the studies you want. Positive studies are not enough, because of all the reasons explored extensively on this blog (researcher bias, publication bias, P-hacking). Systematic reviews with independent replication are needed, and lacking in homeopathy.
    Bottom line – the evidence does not support homeopathy. You claim that low quality evidence is sufficient to reject the null hypothesis, even when prior plausibility is close to zero. The Jacobs research is just one example – three small studies by the same researcher without any independent replication. Pathetic.”

    with a small addendum:

    “BTW – reprinting a paper from almost 20 years ago is still a way of cherry picking obsolete data, and doesn’t get you off the hook.”

    DUllman responds avoiding the key question yet again…

    “Steven, your embarrassing and lame remark about my “posting” a 20-year old article is another one of your classic strawmen arguments. I’ve had that article at my website since 1996. Don’t YOU have an archive of your dated articles? Should we go to libraries and ask them to throw out all of their “old” books?”

  108. The Other John Mcon 10 Jun 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Yeah nice dodge, Dana!…keep trying

  109. Bruceon 10 Jun 2014 at 4:48 pm

    FYI DUllman,

    A strawman is this:

    “The so-called typical “attacking a straw man” implies an adversarial, polemic, or combative debate, and creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent’s proposition by covertly replacing it with a different proposition (i.e., “stand up a straw man”) and then to refute or defeat that false argument (“knock down a straw man”) instead of the original proposition.”

    Steve did not straw man anything, he has asked:

    “how do you explain the multiple independent systematic reviews that I have cited multiple times that all agree that the clinical evidence does not support the efficacy of any homeopathic remedy for anything? You have yet to address this key issue.”

    He then stated that a posting from 20 years ago was not valid as it is a form of cherry picking data… which it is as he has asked for independent systematic reviews. A straw man argument requires there to be a false argument to be knocked down. He has not put forward a false argument, you have the weight of evidence against you and you are the one trying to create false arguments in order to detract from the fact that homeopathy does not work any better than a placebo in any credible testing scenario.

  110. M_Morganon 10 Jun 2014 at 6:30 pm

    BillyJoe7 – I am not feeling charitable to you or your slimey smears – you can look that up in Wikipedia. If you have a comment to make about my post, make it.

  111. grabulaon 11 Jun 2014 at 3:35 am

    @M_Morgan

    “This a classic of a site. Dr Novella has his say, and the vultures congregate.”

    winning flies with honey I see morgan?

    “Everyone has the latest word, or so they say”

    actually not a problem, a strength really. See science adapts with the evidence so all we can ever really say is we have the latest word. Any rational human being would see that over time the truth can and often does change. That’s the hallmark of real science, and real skepticism. We move with the evidence, we don’t try to force it into our worldview, or attempt to deny the evidence in favor of our pet beliefs.

    “It doesn’t do anything on its own, so it must be supported by its surrounds at every turn. This becomes ridiculous Selection narratives using what has fortuitously evolved by “random” . Who says mutation is random”

    Mutation is random, and nature selects for favorable mutations. If you’re a little bunny in the arctic, and you’re the first bunny with white hair. Chances are you go on to have lots of little white bunnies, who also survive and so on. It’s an over simplification but since you’re doing it…

    “I will save the issue of mutation itself and whether it is random to chapter 14 on my free work at http://sdrv.ms/1a4HBbk

    Always pimping out your unintelligable book?

    “That’s why the mostly incomprehensible, but sometimes sensible, views of Homeopaths are interesting – to broaden ones’ view beyond the simple-minded approach of the vultures above.”

    Can’t buck the laws of physics, no matter ho hard you want to. Don’t broaden your mind so much it turns into a thin film morgan.

    “It builds cells using environmental chemicals to grow from one cell and live till reproduction. ”

    Are we discussing abiogenesis or evolution? As usual your words barely form coherent sentences.

    “I am not feeling charitable to you or your slimey smears”

    Morgan, your posts start and end with smears. When do you ‘start’ feeling charitable? When we accept your unintelligible tripe as worth the effort? You can’t put a post together that makes much sense or answer any question asked of you directly, so why oh why should we treat you as anything but a crank? Narcissism + bad syntax does not a good argument make.

  112. BillyJoe7on 11 Jun 2014 at 7:28 am

    Marcus Morgan,

    MM: “Who says mutation is random”
    BJ: “What does an evolutionary biologist mean by the word “random” in relation to mutations?”

    See how my question leads on from yours?
    You are saying that, contrary to what evolutionary biologists say, mutation is not random.
    I’m asking if you understand what evolutionary biologists mean by “random” in this context.
    Because, if you don’t know what they mean, then you have no basis for saying that they are wrong.
    My guess is that you have no idea what they mean, hence your evasive response:

    “I am not feeling charitable to you or your slimey smears – you can look that up in Wikipedia”

    And that was not a slimey smear. You fit all the criteria of a crank – you can look that up in wikipedia.
    Seriously you can:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crank_%28person%29#Common_characteristics_of_cranks

    “If you have a comment to make about my post, make it”

    And you’re such a genius that you haven’t even realised that that is exactly what I’ve done.
    In my opinion, you are denying that mutations are random because you don’t understand what random means in this context. But, instead of accusing you of ignorance about he basics of modern evolutionary theory, I thought I would simply ask you if you understand the meaning of “random”. From your evasive answer, it is cear that you do not.
    So thanks for confirming my suspicions.

  113. Willyon 11 Jun 2014 at 6:19 pm

    I always just KNEW that we were unwise to reject astrology and alchemy! Best to keep an open mind. I’ll bet we’ve been wrong to write off Santa, too. I can picture that neato choo-choo under my tree this coming Christmas. I’ll try to channel the energy to contact Santa by going to my Reiki therapist or one of those poor psi investigators that Randi has been so mean to.

  114. Ekkoon 11 Jun 2014 at 7:03 pm

    A post today on E.Ernst’s site led me to one of the main homeopathy websites and I decided to browse their forum a little for laughs. One of the topics was asking for advice for a friend for whom no homeopathic remedy seemed to be working. The forum homeopath moderator answered thusly:

    “The patient could have something in her lifestyle that is antidoting the remedies as soon as she takes them. It could be a food substance or spice or chewing gum or toothpaste. Some patients are very prone to being antidoted. Sometimes a miasm is blocking the action of the remedy. Other times the remedy’s action could be blocked by toxins, like heavy metals.”

    This is quite funny. It’s an imaginary catch-all, get-out-of-jail free excuse for any time there is no reponse in the user. It goes without saying of course that there is zero introspection into the possibility of the “remedy” itself being useless.

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