Hello again! My life has apparently given me the breathing space to knock this quick blog post together to satisfy you, my clever skeptical inordinately attractive and wonderful readers
Homeopathy wtf, right? What is it? Why do people care about it? Why does it work? (Oi! No laughing at the back, a lot of people reckon it works, even though there’s no actual evidence to demonstrate that it works, but it works ok? Even though… there’s no…. does it even work?)
So first: What is it? Wikipedia, that bastion of eternal knowledge, says:
“Dilution often continues until none of the original substance remains.”
Wolf-like in appearance and temerity (but with far superior table manners), Crispian demonstrated this using that oh-so-modern media: video. Do check it out, it’s marvellous. Even I was cringing at the end.
Hold on then, have I got this right? You take a drop of something that causes an affliction (so, lets say coffee causes you to stay awake, therefore if you wanted to go to sleep it’d be great as a cure for… what?)… then you dilute that in 100 drops of water. Then you do that again and again and again… until you’ve got to thirty. Wouldn’t there be none of the original substance left? Is it kind of like the science of the bible, where we can’t judge it by modern “enlightened” standards like reason and scientific method because people might get upset?
Now, I’m no physicist, but I am a lover of Ribena. Cold Ribena should be diluted one parts yummy sugary goodness to five parts water. Hot Ribena must be diluted one parts prrrrr to four parts water, because scientifically, when you’re feeling down, you need more Ribena in your water.
If someone was to tell me that I could only have one drop of Ribena in a pint glass, I’d be very upset. I might hit them. Who are they to dictate how much Ribena I’m allowed? Is that the point? The less Ribena involved, the more miserable you get? If it was reduced to one molecule of Ribena in a pool of pure water the size of the Pacific Ocean and I had to drink a glass of it, I’d be pretty pissed off. Hmmm… ask a homeopath. Is 30C Ribena a cure for happiness?
Why do people care about it and why does it work?According to some guy called Kent Wood, who has no decent google links to anything useful, other than the delectable Martin Robbins’ website, 10% of the UK population has sought homeopathic remedies, therefore they should be taken seriously. Erm… anyone else spot a problem here? Approximately 12% of the UK population (under 9′s) believe in Santa… that doesn’t mean he should be taken seriously. All “ho ho ho” and shit. That’s not even a proper phrase unless you’re in Tiger Tiger on a Friday night. Plus, I’m still waiting for my pony. The bastard.
In one of my earliest posts back when I was a mere enthusiastic whippersnapper (in May of this year) I looked at a couple of studies examining reasons for people to take up alternative medicine. Specifically, I was interested in women, as I was slightly taken aback by a comment that Edzard Ernst had made about “Four F’s” but the reasons seem pretty straightforward. People either use alternative medicines in addition to actual medicine, or they use it as a last resort.
Recently, at a dinner party, I got into a discussion with a woman for whom homeopathy works. She gets eczema and uses a homeopathic remedy (I forget which one) and her eczema is fine. I asked her if she used any specific moisturisers and she said “Oh yes, of course. I use E45“. Face, meet palm.
So basically, essentially, what this all waters down to is that homeopathy only works when it is used in conjuction with something that has been scientifically proven to work. But doesn’t work on its own, because there’s literally nothing in it.
Is it ethical for Boots to be selling medicines that don’t work to people who are ill?
Edit: Remember this?