Homeopathy put to the test
July 27, 2011, 6:20 pm Frank Pangallo Today Tonight, Channel 7, Brisbane
A scientist is out to bust myths about staying healthy, popping pills by the handful to show what works, and what doesn't.
http://au.news.yahoo.com/today-tonight/health/article/-/9925741/homeopathy-put-to-the-test/ [this link to Channel 7 Today Tonight is no longer live]
This is a great spoof. Australian sceptic Richard "myth busting" Saunders is scandalised because "there are no herbs, no ingredients in homeopathy. It's more like witchcraft"
Well, OK, he is scandalised. But about what works and what doesn't work, he is clueless.
According to Saunders criteria, Air Guitar could not possibly work. There is no guitar. Saunders should tell this to the national championships. Maybe they'll buy it?
Or perhaps Saunders should tell us that American Idol contestant William Hung doesn't work as a pop singer.
It doesn't matter what Saunders and the judges of American Idol think, William sings Big Time.
Obviously Saunders does not get bioenergetic effects.
By the same token, Saunders is clueless about "what works" in terms of scientific validity.
The following quotation gives the criteria for what is valid scientifically, taken from the Logic of Scientific Discovery by Karl Raimond Popper.
This is the criteria upon which independent scientific inquiry is based, as opposed to industry driven research and development. In this statement we can see that scientific validity does not depend upon the kind of "proof" supposedly demonstrated in the Today Tonight video "Homeopathy Put to the Test".
Rather, scientific validity, depends upon whether or not a claim can be falsified by experiment. Can "Homeopathy's claim" be disproved by experiment? The experiment should have controls. It should be reproducible, etc.
In other words, a scientifcally valid statement depends not upon "proof" but upon "poof". A good experiment that is set up according to scientific method and reproducible by independent researchers can make a lot of claims go "poof".
Here is Popper on the subject of valid scientific claims
"But I shall certainly admit a system as empirical or scientific only if it is capable of being tested by experience.
"These considerations suggest: it is not whether a system can be proven or verified that is the criterion of demarcation [as in the above video entertainment aired on prime time]. Rather the question of whether or not a statement or system is scientific depends upon whether it can be falsified. It must be possible for a statement or system that would be empirical and scientific to be refuted by experience." (1959)
In other words not proof, not spoof - but poof.
Has Homeopathy been refuted by experience? By systematic scientific trial adhering to rigorous method? No
BBC Horizon Homeopathy The Test Part 1
The Swiss Governemt Enquiry into the Efficacy of Homeopathy 2011
The following is an historical example of based upon comparative epidemiology in which homeopathic medicine was assessed on the basis of performance in epidemics and pandemics.
"Homeopathy in Epidemics and Pandemics" presented at the inaugural 'Scientific Research in Homeopathy Conference' by Jayney Goddard FCMA, Lic LCCH, Dip ACH
Homeopathy asserts that "homeopathic preparation of ultradilute and succussed solutions are bioactive". Is this statement falsifiable according to scientific method?
This statement has been tested in immunology 1988 at the University of Paris-Sud. (See Ironbark Essay "A Grin without a Cat")
The research journal Nature required a duplication in 70 repeat and double blind trials of the Homeopathic claim.
These results were never refuted even though various methods were tried.
An embarrassed editorial board of Nature did publish a refutation [so called] the following month, in which it was asserted that Benveniste's experiments were invalid in theory because the results were delusional. That isn't a refutation. That is an opinion. There were no experiments, no controls, no double blind, no attempt to reproduce the Paris-Sud trials. As an opinion it is on a par with the tv video spoof above.
Maddox, J.; Randi, J. [as in the Amazing Randi], Stewart, W.W.W. 1988. 'High-dilution' Experiments a Delusion." Nature 334:287.
See Ironbark Essay "Advance! The Chudley Where? or (if you must) Nature Rescues the Natural Order"
The American Institute of Homeopathy was founded in 1844 by Dr Constantine Hering. It was the oldest medical assosciation in the United States, predating the American Medical Assosciation founded by Big Pharma $ to purge homeopathy from the medical colleges, universities, hospitals and clinics.
And what a shameful story this is.
Please consult the work of Harris Coulter, PhD in Medical History 1969 Columbia University
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