Likening Homeopathy to "Witchcraft", British Doctors Want Public Funding for it Stopped
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18 May 2010
It’s for people to choose
The British Medical Association says homeopathy, having no “scientific basis”, shouldn’t be taxpayerfunded. Many doctors ask for a ban, saying public money will be better spent promoting mainstream medicine. Now, these medical practitioners are certainly entitled to their views. But their associating homeopathy with “witchcraft” is rather unfortunate. That’s not the kind of language expected of men of science. More so, since it amounts to insulting the intelligence of countless people who opt for homeopathic treatment.
Free societies should leave it up to people to choose what they want or don’t, as long as their choices don’t affect others. The point is, homeopathy has takers who, suffering chronic ailments, claim it helps them. Others say they prefer placebos to allopathy, believing these do less harm in terms of side effects. Still others turn to alternative medicine when all else fails. Reportedly, a survey in Britain’s state–funded homeopathic hospitals shows 70 per cent of patients felt they were better off. Now, if consenting adults resort to homeopathy, ayurveda, naturopathy, acupuncture and the like, the decision is surely theirs.
If democratic societies go about banning everything not ‘scientifically’ backed, where would it end? Should we proscribe home–made remedies based on traditional knowledge systems because their efficacy hasn’t been lab–tested? Must scientists play referee between herbal and chemical? Yoga and meditation are said to have genuine therapeutic uses. Western researchers being divided on this, should both be outlawed? Why, many pray to beat psychological anxiety. Should they be coerced into seeing shrinks instead? Science is as much about what we don’t know–hence it questions–as about what we do. The last thing it needs is to be made an excuse for placing curbs on individual liberty. Science and logic support them Anil Thakkar
It was not insulting for members of the British Medical Association to describe the practice of homeopathy as witchcraft. What would be insulting–to the intelligence of the observer and the basic principles of reason–is to suggest that it is anything but. Conventional medicine is a discipline that has evolved over centuries, constantly refining itself as superstition and tradition have given way to the empirical mode of thinking. Against this, homeopathy is a mishmash of gibberish designed to sound like faux science, dreamed up out of whole cloth by a German a little over two centuries ago.
Consider the basic principles of homeopathy. Practitioners prepare medication using serial dilution to the extent that the end result often has no element of the original element. Add to this the complementary principle of ‘water memory’ that homeopathy espouses to explain why even highly diluted remedies would be effective–a principle that has been scientifically proven to be false–and it becomes clear why homeopathy is such a dubious discipline. Worse, people who adopt it are often advised by practitioners to eschew conventional treatment–including vaccinations and antibiotics–taking homeopathy from the realm of the foolish but largely harmless to that of the actively dangerous.
Little wonder that till date, there is absolutely no scientific basis for the supposed efficacy of homeopathy. A number of comprehensive studies have been carried out to test if homeopathic remedies actually work–they have established that there are no grounds for thinking so. At best, then, homeopathy can be called the art of the placebo effect. To call it a science of any kind would be a disservice to the term.