Wednesday, February 9, 2011

$1 million and ethics of homeopathic products

I try to keep an open mind about wellness (and other) products. I accept that there is vast amounts that we don't understand about this world and about how our bodies operate. There are many things that people rubbished that decades later turned out to be true. I also accept that there is a "otherness" a spiritual dimension to people and this world. Therefore some things will always be unmeasurable or unquantifiable. Miracles wouldn't be miracles if we could explain them away!

So I say all that, to communicate that I don't often take the role of the skeptic and I disagree with the skeptics fundamental presupposition that unless you can explain it it can't be true. That said a known skeptic James Randi is offering US $ 1 000 000 dollars to anyone who can prove that homeopathy works. Prove in the sense of placebo double blind study...... Now my position on homeopathic remedies is that the placebo effect works well. I don't criticize anyone who takes them. My comment isn't going to change their mind, and if they are tricking themselves  into getting well, then they are still getting well. I cannot come up with any theory or evidence that would support homeopathic remedies. Apart from placebo (which can sometimes get higher than 60% success rate) the only avenue that these medications could have a benefit could be from a blessing that is spoken over them as they are made. This is really clutching at straws!!!!!

However James in his you tube video, linked below raises an interesting ethical question. He questions the ethics of selling these "medicines" When I see homeopathic preparations in a store I just ignore them. However how can pharmacies sell them, when in good conscious they know they don't work? A very interesting question. This raises an ethical question for me - can I be quiet when people talk about  homeopathic preparations? I will definitely ponder this questions. Thanks James for raising this question and I think your $1 million is safe.         


1 comment:

  1. Dave,
    I consider myself a "skeptic" (a term I dislike) and I have to say your assertion that "skeptics fundamental presupposition that unless you can explain it it can't be true" is not even remotely accurate. In fact almost the opposite is true.

    The reason why Skeptics don't believe in homeopathy isn't because of a failure to explain it, it's because experiment after experiment after experiment shows there is nothing to explain. It doesn't work.

    The average skeptic would be delighted to find it did work and nobody knew how .... the challenge of trying to work it out! Nobel Prize up for grabs for a start!