Tag Archives: Argument from popularity

WDDTY – The evidence for homeopathy (WARNING: Accurate statement detected)

It seems the WDDTY team do sometimes read what sceptics write. I’m not quite sure how this happens, since McTaggart is prone to blocking and deleting the least criticism, but apparently it does. Witness this little exercise in misinformation, which turned up in a slightly reworded and longer form in the Nov 2013 issue.

The evidence for homeopathy

Homeopathy is a nonsense, at least according to scientists and sceptics. Yet Indian doctors are using it every day to treat cancer—and now the US government is interested

Doctors call it “nonsense on stilts”, and professors of medicine have been bullying government and health authorities to stop offering it on the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), while scientists say it is implausible, if not impossible, as it breaks every law of science they know.

Homeopathy is everyone’s favourite whipping boy, and if it does clear up a snuffly cold or minor headache, it’s all due to the placebo effect: it’s just mind over matter, and people merely think it’s making them better. Any active ingredient in a homeopathic remedy is diluted sometimes thousands of times, so any effect must be entirely in someone’s imagination.

That makes perfect sense,…

Let’s take that apart, shall we?

The evidence for homeopathy

Homeopathy is a nonsense, at least according to scientists and sceptics.

I hear echoes of that reality-denialist cry “You and your science!” that galvanised me into actively seeking out and debunking anti-science fuckwittery wherever it may lurk and fester. Funny how pro-SCAM whackjobs are quick to laud science when they think they can use it to support their favourite money-making placebo though. Here’s a classic example: five occurrences of the word “science” on a page selling a form of Thinking Happy Thoughts Really Hard, touted by one… Lynne McTaggart. Funny, that.

Yet Indian doctors are using it every day to treat cancer—and now the US government is interested

Yeeees. Indian homeopaths (they are not doctors) may be using homeopathy to treat cancer, but that doesn’t mean it actually does any good. The USA is not exactly renowned for always letting reality prevail over fuckwitted dogma, either, so even if the two claims were more than fallacious arguments from popularity and authority, they still wouldn’t mean dick.

Doctors call it “nonsense on stilts”, and professors of medicine have been bullying government and health authorities to stop offering it on the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), while scientists say it is implausible, if not impossible, as it breaks every law of science they know.

The doctors are correct, the scientists are correct and the professor in question (it’s an obvious attack on Edzard Ernst, who has studied homeopathy and other fringe therapies for years) hasn’t been bullying anybody, merely stating the truth. In fact, he has rather been the victim of bullying, notably from homeopaths trying to smear and discredit him.

Homeopathy is everyone’s favourite whipping boy, and if it does clear up a snuffly cold or minor headache,

… which it doesn’t …

it’s all due to the placebo effect: it’s just mind over matter, and people merely think it’s making them better. Any active ingredient in a homeopathic remedy is diluted sometimes thousands of times, so any effect must be entirely in someone’s imagination.

Bloody hell, I think I’ve just found an accurate statement about homeopathy in WDDTY. I claim my prize.

That makes perfect sense,…

Yes, Lynne, it does. And funnily enough, it’s the power of the imagination you claim to harness in your Intention dingbattery. Is it just me, or are you trying to have your cake and eat it, while selling it a slice at a time?

From the department of determinedly not getting the point

Over at the WDDTY Facebook page, we are beginning to wonder if Lynne McTaggart has handed the keys to Mohammad Saeed al-SahhafW, whose comically implausible propaganda was such a feature of the Iraq War.

So many of you have asked how we’re doing that I wanted to reassure you. We are all great – and so is What Doctors don’t Tell You. Our sales are hugely up, every last store that was behind us before the Times attacks is still behind us, our supporters are more vocal than ever. This story continues to go wildly viral around the world. Every attack on us has made us immeasurably stronger.

Every one apart from Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, that is – perhaps you forgot about them?

How many copies were bought by skeptics looking for material for blogs, I wonder? A lot if the current coverage is anything to go by.

The episode with the Times and the sustained attempt to censor us has motivated the many thousands of those who care about non-drug based medicine – in fact, those who care deeply about change and evolution – to stop apologizing for their views and unabashedly stand up for them. And it has simply strengthened our resolve that what we’re doing is more necessary than ever.

Oh, Lynne, you keep saying this and it keeps being very obviously false. Your freedom of speech is not in any way impaired by your poisonous inaccurate rag not being stocked where it might mislead people into thinking it offers genuine health advice.

It’s not about “non drug based medicine” – supplements are drugs too, and herbal medicines are medicines, just of unknown dose and unproven effect.

What your critics care about is accuracy in health advice. Start providing that, and your problem goes away!

Don’t be deceived by the few highly vocal trolls who have attempted to undermine us on these pages and in the social media. The millions of people interested in a new type of health care – indeed a new type of life – far outnumber those who don’t. You represent a giant nation of consumer and political power. All we need is to organize a little more and shout a little louder.

The idea that the vox populi can make science not be true is, I am sure, especially seductive to one like Lynne who believes in homeopathyW, but it is, alas, fallacious. In fact, it makes the problem worse. You see, it doesn’t matter how loudly you insist on the right to be able to promote homeopathy as a cancer cure or vitamin C as a cure for AIDS, the facts remain the facts. Homeopathy does not cure anything, including cancer, and vitamin C does not cure AIDS.

Promoting the idea that you can earn the right to say these things, or even make them true, by shouting loudly, just increases the pressure for some regulatory action to be taken to stop it.

Because, in the end, it’s dangerous and irresponsible to make these claims.

Many of you have asked what you can do to help. You can help us most at the moment by buying What Doctors Don’t Tell You at your local newsstand (find out about your closest store or subscribe at www.wddtysubscribe.com ) Make us even stronger and we’ll continue to be your very noisy mouthpiece.

WDDTY is a noisy mouthpiece for a large, unscrupulous and unethical supplement industry. Sadly, you are their patsies. As long as you and your friends keep making scientifically unsupportable claims, they don’t have to: and thus they escape scrutiny. You say goji berries are a miracle cure for the usual grab-bag of things, they just have to sell goji berries. If instead you were to focus on the science then they would either have to fund good quality studies (good luck with that, especially since good quality studies tend not to say what the supplement industry would like them to) or the claims would die out and people would be better informed.

We love natural things. We  love our planet: many of us learned the types of fallacious antics used by the alt med and supplement industry by watching industry-funded climate denialists at work. It would be fantastic if there was a genuine, effective, natural cure for cancer.

Right now, the evidence says there isn’t. But that doesn’t stop a whole lot of people preying on cancer patients by claiming there is.

If and when one does arrive, it will be science that works out how to use it, in what quantity, what cancers it affects, how it works, and what other lessons might be learned.  And throughout this no doubt long and arduous process, supplement vendors who pay close to nothing on R&D – your advertisers – will talk up and sell whatever is being investigated. Even if it turns out to be a bust.

Because that’s what they always do.

And you give them a free pass while promoting palpable nonsense undermining real medicines like vaccines.

We hope you are comfortable with your role in this exploitative industry: a noisy mouthpiece, I think you said?