Letter to the Editor on homeopathy

Mortal and pestle used to ground homeopathic r...
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Every so often, I like to submit a Letter to the Editor to my local newspaper as it gets a far larger readership than this blog and a far more varied readership as well. And up until now, all my submissions have made into the paper. But unfortunately, when I responded to an extraordinarily credulous article promoting homeopathy, for some reason, the Bergen Record opted not to post the letter. But that’s not going to stop me from posting it here:

Regarding “Over-the-counter alternatives” (F-1, Dec. 19), I was appalled by Colleen Diskin’s ill-informed advertisement for homeopathy. It’s not an herbal remedy.  Homeopathy is as a matter of fact not a remedy at all but one of the oldest forms of snake oil quackery still bilking unsuspecting suckers out of their money.

Homeopathy involves diluting substances so much it surpasses Avogadro’s limit, meaning there’s literally not a single molecule left of the original substance. If homeopathy treated anything other than thirst, it would mean everything we know about chemistry is wrong. It’s a patently absurd pseudoscience without a shred of scientific validity.

Diskin is also deceptive in her language, emphasizing alleged European “studies” showing it works while simply saying the American medical “establishment” disputes those studies. First, reality is not a popularity contest. Second, every study allegedly bolstering  the case for homeopathy has fallen victim to “the decline effect” – the fact that effect sizes in scientific studies tend to decrease over time, sometimes to nothing.  Without fail, the better designed the study is, the more homeopathy behaves like a placebo.  Like its ingredients, under double blind conditions, homepathy’s effects dilute into oblivion.

Promoting homeopathy does a great disservice to the public health because people may forgo real treatments under the false belief that homeopathy will cure what ails them. But just because science-based medicine isn’t perfect, that doesn’t justify blindly turning to magic and voodoo.

Homeopathy was also heavily criticized the other day by a news broadcast in Canada:

To which, the homeopaths did not respond well to.

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