Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Comments on The Catch-22 of Homeopathy and Patient Choice – Part I

In the comments to The Catch-22 of Homeopathy and Patient Choice, Mark p.s.2 makes a couple of comments about science stinking. What is he really saying?

Mark p.s.2 appears to be striking back, to try to defend homeopathy. Not by offering some evidence of the way that homeopathy actually works, or some evidence that it actually does lead to improved survival for patients treated with homeopathy. Actually, homeopathy could lead to improved survival, if a massive overdose of the water were consumed by someone with potentially fatal dehydration. Of course, the whole idea of consuming a large quantity of anything is antithetical to homeopathy, so homeopaths might reject this unintentional healing as somehow impure.

No. Mark p.s.2 responds by claiming that science/medicine has examples of misbehavior.

This is true. Nobody should try to pretend otherwise. We are human, whether we understand science or oppose science. Humans are fallible. Humans give in to temptations to abuse the trust that is put in them. Scientists are human. This should not be news to anyone.

Then what is his point?

It appears to be just a distraction. Look, science is not perfect. Therefore science has no right to criticize anything else. He is accusing science of hypocrisy.

This is wrong. Science, above all else, is about self-correction. Science is not perfect. Science never will be perfect. Neither will anything else, but science is continually working to become more perfect.

He points to a study that addresses problems in the reporting of studies to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and reporting of studies in medical journals.[1] This is research correcting problems in earlier research. If you scroll to the end of the Free Full Text, you will see that this is not something that researchers have ignored, dismissed, or taken lightly.

Mark p.s.2 is not criticizing science.

Mark p.s.2 is honoring science.

Without science, starvation would be a significant limit on population size, many minor cuts and scrapes would lead to death by infection, transportation would never need to make reference to any kind of speed limit, and vaccine-preventable illnesses would regularly wipe out large portions of the population, to mention just a few of the problems of life without science.

Science is not about covering up its mistakes. Some individual scientists may exhibit their humanity in attempting to cover up mistakes. Unlike anti-science, the scientific community does not cooperate with this.

Individuals, or even some groups, may be able to cover up problems for a while, but eventually they will be exposed. I have written about this before. I do not write to defend these abusers of science.[2], [3] I try not to play favorites, when I write to criticize abusers of science,[4], [5] but homeopaths deserve a special kind of absurd treatment.[6]

The most interesting part of Mark p.s.2’s comment is the basis for his criticism of science/medicine.

What does Mark p.s.2 choose?

Mark p.s.2 cites a case medical research that shows scientists working to correct some apparent abuses by other researchers. This is not an example of a problem of science. This is showing how science examines itself, seeks to identify errors, and seeks to correct these errors. If Mark p.s.2 had a valid point, then he has contradicted himself with this statement. Perhaps contradiction is the essence of homeopathy.

This research is clearly a case of science self-correcting.

Self-correction is something homeopathy and other anti-science/quackery/et cetera do not do.

Science – If we make a mistake, the only honest way to proceed is to admit the mistake and to correct the mistake.

Anti-science – If we make a mistake, we must cover it up. If anyone looks too closely at what we do, they will recognize the fraud.

Science keeps improving.

Homeopathy is still the same old fraud it was two hundred years ago.

Science makes progress.

Homeopathy makes magic memory water.

It is your health.

If homeopathy is such a miracle, why isn’t it any better than placebo. Where are the lives saved?

The only miracle about homeopathy is that people are gullible enough to believe in it.

Pretty much every foul pestilent thing on this planet has come into contact with that water. Why does it only remember the one thing the homeopath wants it to remember?

Magic.

Why would a memory of something that causes similar symptoms, regardless of how unrelated the cause, cure an illness?

Magic.

How does something become stronger when diluted down to nothing?

Magic.

Do you really want to trust your life to someone who lies to you?

Mark p.s.2 demands perfection from science.

Perfection will always be impossible.

Mark p.s.2 demands respect for homeopathy.

Respect for homeopathy will always be impossible, too.

Footnotes:

^ 1 Selective publication of antidepressant trials and its influence on apparent efficacy.
Turner EH, Matthews AM, Linardatos E, Tell RA, Rosenthal R.
N Engl J Med. 2008 Jan 17;358(3):252-60.
PMID: 18199864 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Free Full Text         Free PDF

^ 2 A Comment on Dr. Reuben’s Fraudulent Science and Patient Care
Rogue Medic
Article

^ 3 Dr. Reuben’s Fraudulent Science and Patient Care
Rogue Medic
Article

^ 4 Andrew Wakefield and Cognitive Dissonance.
Rogue Medic
Article

^ 5 CBS Neck and Neck with CNN for Most Incompetent Network
Rogue Medic
Article

^ 6 Homeopathy Warning!
Rogue Medic
Article

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