Monday, 31 March 2008

Homeopaths capitulate [by guest blogger Olaf Priol]

A group of prominent homeopaths today admitted to 'several decades of flagrant self-deception and denial', concluding that there was no scientific evidence that homeopathy offered any benefits beyond the placebo effect.

Una Daleman, a well known US homeopath, issued the following statement:

"Friends, I've spent many years working as a homeopath, and I have always felt that the fact my patients felt better after treatment was proof that homeopathy did something. I also knew of several studies that seemed to show statistically significant evidence that homeopathy works. Scientists dismissed this as being placebo effect, or regression to the mean (whatever that is!), or the result of biased and useless studies with poor methodology, but I thought I knew better. However, as you all will know, I am nothing if not HUMBLE, willing to learn, and intellectually honest. So, after spending much time at skeptical blogs and websites, taking in the criticisms of the apparently positive studies I wanted to discuss, and evaluating the scientific evidence as a whole, I have to conclude that homeopathy is just about the most ridiculous pile of faux-magical and pseudoscientific garbage that humanity has constructed.

In particular, I want to totally repudiate the nonsensical study by Rustum Roy and colleagues on spectrophotometry of homeopathic remedies, which is so poorly conducted it shows nothing at all. I also want to acknowledge that a study in Chest that I have spammed all over the internet as evidence for homeopathy is invalid, because of differences between the placebo and treatment groups."

Dieter Wisher, president of the Guild of Homeopaths, added:

"After long reflection, it seems to me that Ben Goldacre was right about the evidence from meta-analyses after all, and they show no effect beyond placebo for homeopathy. The attempts by myself and others to explain these results through quantum entanglement (whatever that is!), the bad vibes of anti-homeopaths infecting experimental procedures, or the wrong kind of magic wand being used in the treatment group, were misguided attempts to avoid the conclusion that everything we believed in is nonsense.

As penitence, I will be travelling to Togo and working at a malaria clinic."

However, maverick US homeopath Dana Ullman said:

"It is EASY to assume that homeopathic medicines are akin to placebos if one has a superficial understanding of what homeopathy is and what good research has been conducted to evaluate it. I want to remind skeptics that good and serious scientists maintain a high level of HUMILITY about what they know and what they don't know. I am proud of my humility of what I know and what I don't know - particularly what I don't know. I can tell you that about a new study on homeopathy and water by a respected professor of material sciences, Rustum Roy, PhD (of Penn State University)....[continued p. 94]


Anonymous said...

Ah, if only.

But I see this was posted on April 1st.

Anonymous said...

Haha, brilliant. I expect you'll get a drive-by from Una Daleman. Or another well known US homeopath.

Paul Wilson said...


I did remind myself a bit of this excellent PhD comic, though...