I recently received some comments from a reader regarding my articles on homeopathy and my criticism of this pseudoscience. The reader asked if I had ever met anyone who had been treated using homeopathy and that I also should temper my vehemence; the implication being that homeopathy provided a valuable service which delivered positive results and comforted patients. My immediate reaction was that any perceived vehemence was misplaced especially in comparison to someone like PZ Myers! But the questions being raised on the value of homeopathy deserved debate.
After much consideration, I can only reinforce my opposition to the pseudoscience that is homeopathy and my exasperation at the idiocy of homeopathy’s support. Despite the claims made by the practitioners of homeopathy, there is no evidence that there is anything but a placebo at work. As a placebo, homeopathy will provide improvements for some patients within a very narrow band of illnesses. Simplistically, the benefits of positive thought. It certainly wouldn’t be able to successfully treat illnesses such as malaria for example.
The statements made by homeopaths explaining the mechanisms of how homeopathy is allegedly claimed to work have been shown to be incorrect. Yet homeopaths are unable to accept this. They have abandoned critical thinking and have deluded themselves into accepting the extraordinary when all credible evidence shows that their claims are without foundation.
So why should I care? Why should we all care? After all, the placebo effect certainly provides some benefits to some people. I’ll tell you why.
By accepting homeopathy we make it difficult to demonstrate to society the benefits of critical thinking. Without critical thinking we are saying that it’s OK to accept extraordinary claims without evidence; that it’s OK to accept pseudoscience, to accept astrology, to accept perpetual-motion machines. In short, that it’s OK to be bamboozled.
Our enlightenment, our knowledge, striving to seek the truth; this is what advances us. And critical thinking is the most powerful tool to achieve that. Without it we will be burdened by superstition and witch doctors.
Copyright © 2008 Kulvinder Singh Matharu – All Rights Reserved