When I was sick as a child in working class industrial Manchester, I would be taken to see The Quack, aka the family GP. He was a stern man but kind, and always looked for the simple solution before reaching for his prescription pad. He was a dying breed back then and such a doctor nowadays is, sadly, a rare and precious thing.
Having heard my parents use the term all my life, it came with some irony that all these years later I find myself described as a Quack and it’s meant to be an insult. I’ve been called a wide range of other descriptives as well of course, from a number of less imaginative four letter words, all the way to the whimsical “woo artist”.
The only emotion any of these words elicit in me is one of sadness. If we look to the homeopathic material medica, all the characters are in there. If only they had some good constitutional treatment they would open their minds and debate rather than debunk. Discuss rather than go for the jugular. Exchange ideas rather than employ character assassination. Continue reading
Monday saw the second round of oral submissions – though the name is a little misleading – it’s actually a question and answer session – no submissions that I could see. It took the same format as the previous session (see blog on Nov 26th) with Rt Hon Mike O’Brien QC MP, Minister of State, Professor David Harper CBE, Chief Scientist, Department of Health, and Professor Kent Woods, Chief Executive, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in the hot seat.
Before opening the meeting, The Chair, felt the need to clarify what this committee’s remit actually is. I for one was glad to hear it, because in all the media furor since the last meeting, something had been lost in translation.
The Chair announced, “ I want to put it on record as there seems to be a little confusion about the nature of the work we’re doing. This is not an enquiry into whether homeopathy works or not. It’s an enquiry that follows a series of evidence checks across a number of government departments as to say whether in fact there was any evidence to support the government’s policy towards homeopathy.” Continue reading
I’ve read many more of the submissions now (see previous post) and here’s the thing….
The Neutrals identify the need for more research – the YESes welcome more research.
The NOs state that more research is a waste of time and money because “homeopathy doesn’t work” Q.E.D.
I’m reminded of a quote by Einstein: “Concepts, which have proved useful for ordering things, easily assume so great an authority over us, that we forget their terrestrial origin and accept them as unalterable facts. They then become labeled as ‘conceptual necessities,’ etc. The road of scientific progress is frequently blocked for long periods by such errors.” That block in the road is where we are right now.
We should be very grateful that researchers in history didn’t give up when their important advances in science were met with derision and ridicule and worse. Continue reading
Let’s hope the Science and Technology Committee read the written submissions sent in for the Evidence Check on Homeopathy. I am busy ploughing through them and interesting reading they make.
Is homeopathy effective? Does the Evidence support that?
Score: YES – 28 NO – 11 Neutral – 7
To be fair, 3 of the YES group are satisfied patients making a plea for keeping homeopathy within the NHS, and – as we are reminded daily by the NOs – anecdotal evidence, however much there is, whether new born babies, herds of cattle, comatose patients or people with intractable conditions not helped by 30 years of conventional medicine (no placebo effect there then) – does not count.
The remaining 25 in the YES group are well constructed, many of them one might say are academic, papers, fully referenced and carefully laying out the reasons for their conclusions. Continue reading
DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE EVIDENCE CHECK IS NOT FINISHED, NOR THE PARLIAMENTARY REPORT WRITTEN predictably the media is all over the oral submissions – having waited hungrily for the sound bites and gobbled them up, they’re now spitting them out all over the place…
Boots is on the carpet for selling medicines they ‘don’t believe work’ – pulling that carpet from under their retail sales, by informing the public that Boots is selling them nothing but ‘sugar pills’ at 5 quid a bottle.
So I have a question myself: WHY, Mr. Bennett? Continue reading
I had a dream not so long ago….and so did they…..
Once upon a time there was a group of materialists who worked hard day and night to bring their myopic vision of life, the universe and everything to the rest of humanity. Especially the UK. Many meetings in pubs, and conversions of journalists and politicians and young scientists and bloggers took place, and gradually they gained confidence and power and influence. One summer’s night they sat around feeling particularly smug, wondering about their next maneuver. Continue reading
Today I’m full of admiration for the British Government – all their Select Committee meetings are accessible from anywhere in the world via the internet. I just finished watching two hours of the committee charged with looking into the evidence for homeopathy, or the lack thereof. Continue reading