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 split: Nirvanam's contribution to homeopathy discussion 
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Alan H wrote:
Nirvanam wrote:
Homeopathy works for my sweating problem, it works for my fevers, and other such ailments. So I use it. I, as an individual, prefer not to ingest third or fourth degree artificially made chemicals. Does it make me any less rational than you are?
I'm glad to hear that it appears to have resolved your problems. But how do we know it would also work on someone else? Perhaps it might not work for someone who has blue eyes (or blond hair or whatever)? Perhaps it might even harm them? How do we find out? We test it. Not just any old test ("Did the homeopathic potion work for you"), but trails that do their best to eliminate any possibility of bias — intentional or otherwise. And when these trials are done (as jdc has pointed out), these well-conducted trials show that homeopathy is no better than placebo.
Alan, I don't think I have ever asked you to take homeopathy. I know it works for me for some ailments. I don't need a certificate even from a homeopathic doctor to tell me whether it worked or not.

And please don't go on about this placebo thing. Do you know what placebo effect is? Placebo effect, if you strip all the terminology used, is nothing but a scientist/expert saying "I don't know how it happened". That's all. Placebo effect does not explain anything. It is a term coined to identify a case as one where we don't know what happened. Nothing more nothing less.

Dismissing things off as placebo effect neither provides scientific ground for dismissal nor does it mean that something is not what it is claimed to be. It only means that right now I don't know how it happened. It is a maintenance of status quo not a dismissal...that's a huge difference.


December 16th, 2009, 9:58 pm
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Nirvanam wrote:
Alan H,

Like I said way back and excused myself from the thread a few months ago, I am not an expert on homeopathy and I have not bothered to find out whether it works or not. My involvement in this thread is not to show Homeopathy works or doesn't. I could care less whether you or my dad or someone else believes Homeopathy works or not.

I am in this thread because one person is being ridiculed by all and sundry for believing in something when none of these 'all and sundry' have any expertise in the subject.

The next part is not in reference to you or a few others on this forum: people need to learn to disagree gracefully and let go. There is no need to ridicule the opposite person and keep asking for evidence as if we are some kinda judicial panel to evaluate if something works or doesn't.
Yet again, Nirvanam, I will say that you have jumped to a conclusion about our hostility to Nancy not warranted by the evidence.

Nancy came on here and asserted that homeopathy worked. We did not ask her to come here. But having done so, it is incumbent on her to answer the criticism made of her assertions. Answering her assertions by osnly aying, "I don't agree with your assertion, Nancy" gets us nowhere: this is a discussion forum and it is not too much to expect people to engage in a discussion. Nancy has (in the main) completely failed to do that. It's not that 'people need to learn to disagree gracefully and let go', it's that others need to learn how to discuss and debate their assertions.

Unlike you, I do care about the evidence for and against homeopathy: just take a look at the irresponsible and downright dangerous advice given by a homeopath near here today: Homeopath(et)ic Travel Advice « Skeptic Barista

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December 16th, 2009, 10:01 pm
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Life, "critical-thinking" without expertise in a subject cannot take you far and if you choose to conclude about the subject then it means narrow-mindedness. Critical-thinking only questions stuff, it does not conclude. Conclusion is derived from experimentation and conjecture. Conclusion necessarily requires an element of subjective interpretation (you are aware that nothing can be proved, right? So, how does one make a decision, then? This is where subjective conjecture comes in).


That is quite probably the most poorly constructed and meaningless paragraph I have seen on TH. Well done, you have achieved something.

I can make a pretty well calculated critical judgement that you would not have been so keen to jump to Dr Malik's defence if she had been based in London or New York, or if you hadn't spent money on the stuff yourself. The post colonial chip on your shoulder can only be used to mask your own prejudices for so long. Here, as in other places on this forum, you are clearly experiencing cognitive dissonance as part of you realises that some if not many of your most cherished ideas are bullshit. You are reacting to this in some pretty predictable ways such as denial (by retreating into esoteric, metaphysical mumbo jumbo), and by projecting your anger on to others (with petulant, petty little personal attacks). There are a number of things that may happen now. I will leave you to work them out.

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December 16th, 2009, 10:07 pm
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Nirvanam wrote:
lan, I don't think I have ever asked you to take homeopathy.
Eh? I know and never said you did.

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I know it works for me for some ailments. I don't need a certificate even from a homeopathic doctor to tell me whether it worked or not.
See my previous comments about bias and independent trials.

Quote:
And please don't go on about this placebo thing. Do you know what placebo effect is? Placebo effect, if you strip all the terminology used, is nothing but a scientist/expert saying "I don't know how it happened". That's all. Placebo effect does not explain anything. It is a term coined to identify a case as one where we don't know what happened. Nothing more nothing less.

Dismissing things off as placebo effect neither provides scientific ground for dismissal nor does it mean that something is not what it is claimed to be. It only means that right now I don't know how it happened. It is a maintenance of status quo not a dismissal...that's a huge difference.
Yes it is. If something cannot show any effect over placebo, then it is of very limited value. Why not go to a medical practitioner and be prescribed a medicine that has been proven through unbiased trials to work and get its effectiveness as well as the placebo effect?

Homeopathy claims to be far more than placebo, yet has (so far) failed all unbiased tests to meet up to those claims. What do you suggest? That we accept Nancy's word for it that is works and not seek for confirmation elsewhere?

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December 16th, 2009, 10:11 pm
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Alan C. wrote:
did, you're not paying attention.
Quote:
Selective cut-paste of my sentence...how about including the whole sentence.

Alan C. wrote:
You flatter yourself, I don't even read most your posts but quack "medicine" is something I feel strongly about. I think maybe you have a persecution complex.
This is not the only thread where you have chosen to butt in and get at me personally. And, if medicine is something you feel strongly about, how come you don't even have any expertise in it (or do you?). Just coz a subject is strongly felt by someone doesn't make them an authority on it, no?

Alan C. wrote:
OMG! I've been found out :laughter:
You were found out long back. I gave you the benefit of doubt for quite sometime, tried to even get comfy with you. But you didn't seem to stop getting personal. So now Alan, know that I am not gonna hold back. I'll put you in your place every time you get personal with me.

Alan C. wrote:
I find it truly amazing that you can come to such a conclusion about someone you don't even know.
Alan C, what I said here is within the context of our conversations nothing beyond that. Now, if you have a habit of interpreting what people talk about under a certain context to mean that they are referring to the entirety of your personality, that is your problem. No human considers another human as a blanket good / bad person (at least I don't and I haven't met anyone who thinks so), it is always with reference to a context. Understand that.


December 16th, 2009, 10:12 pm
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guys, tomorrow...let's get grr at each other again tomorrow...gotta go to bed now :D


December 16th, 2009, 10:14 pm
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Nirvanam
This is not the only thread where you have chosen to butt in and get at me personally.
As a member of this forum I don't think making a post/comment constitutes "butting in". You obviously think differently.
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So now Alan, know that I am not gonna hold back. I'll put you in your place every time you get personal with me.
My place being? (do you by any chance support the caste system) Please define my place and maybe I'll put myself in it and save you the bother.

Nice to know I have "a place".

You are the first person I have come across on this forum who appears (to me at least) to be racist, that's why we don't get on, OK?

In future I'll avoid your posts and you avoid mine, then all will be fine, deal?

Edit.
You didn't answer my question.
Nervanam.
How important do you think it is that the homeopathic potion is banged 10 times against a leather bound lump of wood?

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December 16th, 2009, 11:06 pm
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Nirvanam wrote:
Maria, I did not bother to read beyond this para.

You post a spirited defence of homeopathy but you are not bothered in reading about why I disagree with you. Got it.
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This is your privately owned site, you can do whatever you want.

Indeed. Nevertheless, I put a great deal of thought into how best to run it in a way that ensures friendly and productive discussion can take place and conflict kept to a minimum. I made the rules and I stick to them myself and expect other people to do the same.
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I only request you not to dismiss individuals and ridicule them for what they believe in especially when they haven't abused you.

As I never dismiss posters here or ridicule them for what they believe in, your request is misplaced. How I treat people depends on their behaviour, not their beliefs. We've had people here explain perfectly civilly why they believe in homeopathy and respond civilly when challenged. They do not get dismissed or ridiculed.


December 16th, 2009, 11:33 pm
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seems to me that Nancy has lobbed a carefully aimed petrol bomb into this thread and hastily retreated to safe distance to watch the devastation.



I'd also like to add that I was unaware that it was not possible to enter into a debate unless one had specialist knowledge on the subject.

I may as well go now, if that's the case :sad:

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December 17th, 2009, 12:57 am
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Nirvanam wrote:
And please don't go on about this placebo thing. Do you know what placebo effect is? Placebo effect, if you strip all the terminology used, is nothing but a scientist/expert saying "I don't know how it happened". That's all. Placebo effect does not explain anything. It is a term coined to identify a case as one where we don't know what happened. Nothing more nothing less.

This is simply not true. We have a lot of data about placebo these days. We know which conditions are placebo-responsive and which aren't. We know about the physiological changes that take place in placebo response because these can be measured.
Drugs for Parkinson's Disease, for example, increase dopamine release in the brain. So do placebos, when taken for Parkinson's. We know that the immune systems of dogs can be conditioned to respond to placebo. We know that the placebo effect is, to an extent, culturally specific. We even know that some placebos "perform" better than others.

Homeopathy is a placebo. There is no evidence that homeopathy is effective for any condition that isn't placebo-responsive.


December 17th, 2009, 2:26 am
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Lifelinking wrote:
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Life, "critical-thinking" without expertise in a subject cannot take you far and if you choose to conclude about the subject then it means narrow-mindedness. Critical-thinking only questions stuff, it does not conclude. Conclusion is derived from experimentation and conjecture. Conclusion necessarily requires an element of subjective interpretation (you are aware that nothing can be proved, right? So, how does one make a decision, then? This is where subjective conjecture comes in).


That is quite probably the most poorly constructed and meaningless paragraph I have seen on TH. Well done, you have achieved something.

I can make a pretty well calculated critical judgement that you would not have been so keen to jump to Dr Malik's defence if she had been based in London or New York, or if you hadn't spent money on the stuff yourself. The post colonial chip on your shoulder can only be used to mask your own prejudices for so long. Here, as in other places on this forum, you are clearly experiencing cognitive dissonance as part of you realises that some if not many of your most cherished ideas are bullshit. You are reacting to this in some pretty predictable ways such as denial (by retreating into esoteric, metaphysical mumbo jumbo), and by projecting your anger on to others (with petulant, petty little personal attacks). There are a number of things that may happen now. I will leave you to work them out.
Now that you have come out of your sarcasm, and directed stuff at me, you have made it easier for me to get back at your tripe. I am sure you will also not find it difficult to work out what could happen now.


December 17th, 2009, 12:41 pm
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Alan H wrote:
Nirvanam wrote:
lan, I don't think I have ever asked you to take homeopathy.
Eh? I know and never said you did.

Quote:
I know it works for me for some ailments. I don't need a certificate even from a homeopathic doctor to tell me whether it worked or not.
See my previous comments about bias and independent trials.

Quote:
And please don't go on about this placebo thing. Do you know what placebo effect is? Placebo effect, if you strip all the terminology used, is nothing but a scientist/expert saying "I don't know how it happened". That's all. Placebo effect does not explain anything. It is a term coined to identify a case as one where we don't know what happened. Nothing more nothing less.

Dismissing things off as placebo effect neither provides scientific ground for dismissal nor does it mean that something is not what it is claimed to be. It only means that right now I don't know how it happened. It is a maintenance of status quo not a dismissal...that's a huge difference.
Yes it is. If something cannot show any effect over placebo, then it is of very limited value. Why not go to a medical practitioner and be prescribed a medicine that has been proven through unbiased trials to work and get its effectiveness as well as the placebo effect?

Homeopathy claims to be far more than placebo, yet has (so far) failed all unbiased tests to meet up to those claims. What do you suggest? That we accept Nancy's word for it that is works and not seek for confirmation elsewhere?
I don't understand what difference it makes to you whether I believe in homeopathy or not, or for that matter whether some individual somewhere in the world believes it or not. Are they demanding that you use it?

Since you are an intelligent person, if a homeopathic comes to you just let them know you don't believe them. Is it that hard?

Edit: Oh and by the way, I don't think your understanding of the implications of classifying something as placebo effect is great. Do talk to some experts so they can explain what it actually means


December 17th, 2009, 12:44 pm
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Alan C. wrote:
As a member of this forum I don't think making a post/comment constitutes "butting in". You obviously think differently.
Alan there is a difference in posting a comment and responding to an individual in a way that you are trying to show that the individual is somehow less intelligent than you.

Alan C. wrote:
My place being? (do you by any chance support the caste system) Please define my place and maybe I'll put myself in it and save you the bother.

Nice to know I have "a place".
Your place is for you to realize that what you think you are an expert at is not necessarily true. Learn not to ridicule people for believing in whatever they do. Humility helps. If you continue to argue based on here-say-there-read, without expertise in the subject, I'll put you in your place. Now you know what your place is? Or do you want me to explain it again?

Try this: your place (you may interpret it in this context as the weight given to your opinion) is pretty negligible in things where you do not have expertise. Whereas in places where you do have considerable expertise, your place is pretty significant.

Alan C. wrote:
You are the first person I have come across on this forum who appears (to me at least) to be racist, that's why we don't get on, OK?
And I may be able to get on with others on this forum, with other non-ethnic-Indians in my life? What does that say? It says that you and I have a personality clash...we have our differences of opinion and we choose not to be sensitive to each other (although I did make an effort).

Alan C. wrote:
In future I'll avoid your posts and you avoid mine, then all will be fine, deal?
Thanks Alan! That will definitely help both of us in looking at each other in a different light. Who knows a few weeks down the line you come across a post from me which agrees with an opinion you hold, and I come across a post from you which agrees with my opinion. We might then start seeing each other in a slightly different light.


December 17th, 2009, 1:05 pm
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Maria wrote:
This is simply not true. We have a lot of data about placebo these days. We know which conditions are placebo-responsive and which aren't. We know about the physiological changes that take place in placebo response because these can be measured.
Drugs for Parkinson's Disease, for example, increase dopamine release in the brain. So do placebos, when taken for Parkinson's. We know that the immune systems of dogs can be conditioned to respond to placebo. We know that the placebo effect is, to an extent, culturally specific. We even know that some placebos "perform" better than others.

Homeopathy is a placebo. There is no evidence that homeopathy is effective for any condition that isn't placebo-responsive.
Either my understanding of a placebo effect is wrong or probably you are interpreting it differently. What is placebo effect, Maria? It would help if you used your own words to describe it (because I already know of the definitions and where to find them).

Also Maria, if my questioning you is in some way disrespectful or rude please be up front and let me know. I know there are cultural differences in the way we talk and I don't want it to happen that, I say/ask something thinking it is perfectly normal (based on my cultural sensitivities) but it turns out that it is rude and you respond to me thinking I have been rude.


December 17th, 2009, 1:12 pm
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Marian wrote:
getreal wrote:
seems to me that Nancy has lobbed a carefully aimed petrol bomb into this thread and hastily retreated to safe distance to watch the devastation.
Brilliant observation! Or maybe she's conducting RCT on her homeopathy. If she is even what she claims to be.

getreal wrote:
I'd also like to add that I was unaware that it was not possible to enter into a debate unless one had specialist knowledge on the subject.

:laughter: Oh yes, getreal, just check your handy 'Rules for Debate' pamphlet as published by the expert in: capitalism, Obama, climate/environment, Islam, American Law...shall I go on?
Marian, didn't expect this from you.


December 17th, 2009, 2:04 pm
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Alan H wrote:
We've already told you why we reject anecdote, Nancy.
Alan, this is the attitude I am referring to. The "we", "we want this", "we want that", "we expect this", "we expect that". Please understand that this is a web forum where people are sharing opinions. I am talking from what I experience here. I see people asking for evidence and rubbishing everything that is provided as if they are some sorta panel to rule on something. We should ask each other for stuff, and agree to disagree. If we think we are some kinda great panel to judge something then we should have the requisite expertise, no?

Folks,

What are we? Lets know this, what exactly is each individual's recognized expertise in this forum? How many scientists do we have here? I know I am not one. I also know one of the areas of expertise of Paolo is Biology, Nick is Economics, mine is in Business Process Improvement/Re-engineering. What about yours?

Who really are we to dismiss someone off for what they believe in when we ourselves don't know much about it? The smarter thing to do would be to accept lack of knowledge in the subject under discussion and accept that we hold our believes about something (whether rationally or irrationally does not matter) for reasons that we deem valid. No one becomes any less intelligent or less of a critical-thinker if they believe in something. Is it so difficult to be humble about our own abilities?

What is the need to be hell bent on showing someone's belief is irrational?

Recently I started a thread asking about the great achievers who were Humanists. I didn't check it yesterday so if someone has responded I don't know. But I don't see Humanists being any great achievers in various subjects in the world. Can you name some? Would it be right for me to conclude then that Humanists are a pack of pseudo-intellects? No, right? Where is your rational thought? Would it not be irrational to deem something useless without even knowing what it is, or how it is, or where it is, or ...?

Is there anyone among us in this forum who can challenge, with relevant expertise in medicine and healthcare, Nancy on homeopathy? Let's then get that person to challenge Nancy so they can debate even at the level of technicalities.

Does anyone have the requisite knowledge to involve Nancy in a serious debate rather than saying "I need evidence" which basically means I need evidence which my eyes and my brain want to see and perceive? If yes let's have a fair one against one.

I already know that many of you here have no greater knowledge than even someone like me when it comes to healthcare and medicine. It is pretty apparent. But since you hold yourselves in enough esteem to demand "we need evidence not anecdotes", let's figure out how good we really are at the subject.

And it is fair to expect people to debate from their experience instead of copy-pasting quotes from the web. Because if the person really knows stuff then he or she will be able to present his perspective with enough conviction and it will be pretty apparent when one speaks from his or her experience.


December 17th, 2009, 2:31 pm
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Nirvanam wrote:
Folks,

What are we? Lets know this, what exactly is each individual's recognized expertise in this forum? How many scientists do we have here? I know I am not one. I also know one of the areas of expertise of Paolo is Biology, Nick is Economics, mine is in Business Process Improvement/Re-engineering. What about yours?

Who really are we to dismiss someone off for what they believe in when we ourselves don't know much about it? The smarter thing to do would be to accept lack of knowledge in the subject under discussion and accept that we hold our believes about something (whether rationally or irrationally does not matter) for reasons that we deem valid. No one becomes any less intelligent or less of a critical-thinker if they believe in something. Is it so difficult to be humble about our own abilities?

What is the need to be hell bent on showing someone's belief is irrational?

Recently I started a thread asking about the great achievers who were Humanists. I didn't check it yesterday so if someone has responded I don't know. But I don't see Humanists being any great achievers in various subjects in the world. Can you name some? Would it be right for me to conclude then that Humanists are a pack of pseudo-intellects? No, right? Where is your rational thought? Would it not be irrational to deem something useless without even knowing what it is, or how it is, or where it is, or ...?

Is there anyone among us in this forum who can challenge, with relevant expertise in medicine and healthcare, Nancy on homeopathy? Let's then get that person to challenge Nancy so they can debate even at the level of technicalities.

Does anyone have the requisite knowledge to involve Nancy in a serious debate rather than saying "I need evidence" which basically means I need evidence which my eyes and my brain want to see and perceive? If yes let's have a fair one against one.

I already know that many of you here have no greater knowledge than even someone like me when it comes to healthcare and medicine. It is pretty apparent. But since you hold yourselves in enough esteem to demand "we need evidence not anecdotes", let's figure out how good we really are at the subject.

And it is fair to expect people to debate from their experience instead of copy-pasting quotes from the web. Because if the person really knows stuff then he or she will be able to present his perspective with enough conviction and it will be pretty apparent when one speaks from his or her experience.
You're absolutely right, my friend. No one here has studied homeopathy for five years. No one here has a degree in homeopathy. No one here even has a medical degree. I'm just a lowly, ignorant person with a degree in an applied physics subject and some basic practical medical knowledge. Nancy is the one with the degree and all that expertise and knowledge so we have to give total credence and be obsequious in her presence.

Nancy has spoken. Homeopathy works. She is THE ONE who knows. She is the only one who can know and it ill-behooves us to question her knowledge, expertise and experience. We will be closing Think Humanism down later today. There is no point in questioning anything any further.

Nirvanam: Is that what you want?

If you don't want to question what she asserts, then fine. Don't. But please do not try to stop the rest of us with inquiring minds from doing it. Let us question her assertions. Nancy has shown herself to be perfectly capable of answering for herself — even if her answers are inadequate.

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December 17th, 2009, 2:42 pm
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Nirvanam wrote:
I don't understand what difference it makes to you whether I believe in homeopathy or not, or for that matter whether some individual somewhere in the world believes it or not. Are they demanding that you use it?

Since you are an intelligent person, if a homeopathic comes to you just let them know you don't believe them. Is it that hard?
You must have missed the bit where I talked about people being misled and killed by useless homeopathy.

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December 17th, 2009, 3:02 pm
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Nirvanam wrote:
Alan, instead of asking Nancy (or me or anyone else) to produce evidence after evidence that you don't seem to consider as evidence, why not do the following: In another post Nancy has given some info about Homeopathy in Europe. I am sure there would be some senior well-trained, well-learned Homeopathic doctors in the UK and organizations (pharma ones) that support Homeopathy research. Why not just approach them, if you are truly interested in knowing whether Homeopathy works or not.

Just like we cannot prove a believer that god does not exist (because the individual has to see it himself), similarly no one can prove something like this. Its for you to search with an open mind, provided you are inclined enough to do it. Else leave it. Why bother?
The evidence has already been presented to everyone (by jdc) that homeopathy does not work. Since Nancy has failed to convince us (by that I mean the majority of contributers to this thread — and I make no apology for making that assumption) that homeopathy does work, in spite of that evidence, perhaps she could concentrate on debunking those Cochrane reviews?

This thread is out of control: if it is to progress, we need to concentrate on one specific aspect and dig deep into it. I've already made at least two suggestions to Nancy: choose one of the 'laws' of homeopathy and explain it or debunk the Cochrane reviews. Perhaps then we can make some progress. But this scattergun approach does little to help.

Can everyone please help get and keep this thread back on track? It is about the evidence for and against homeopathy.

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December 17th, 2009, 3:09 pm
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Nirvanam wrote:
What are we? Lets know this, what exactly is each individual's recognized expertise in this forum? How many scientists do we have here? I know I am not one. I also know one of the areas of expertise of Paolo is Biology, Nick is Economics, mine is in Business Process Improvement/Re-engineering. What about yours?


That's the beauty of quality peer-reviewed scientific publishing... all you need is the ability to comprehend an article and you can form an opinion based on what the real bona fide experts have discovered. There is anecdotal evidence for everything from alien abduction to water weirding and yes, even homeopathy -- doesn't mean I should give them any credence because some self-proclaimed experts say they are so; so as it sounds has already been requested (many times over) I ask for quality peer-reviewed evidence that takes this discussion from a he-said, she-said trolling contest to the level that it purports to desire: provide enough reason that a critical thinker would try homeopathy, whether or not they are experts on the topic of alternative medicine.

Quote:
What is the need to be hell bent on showing someone's belief is irrational?


Dunno about you, but as a humanist I hate to see humans die or suffer needlessly. If you are supplanting actual health-care with homeopathy, and encouraging others to do so as well, then you are in-fact encouraging them to neglect their health. In the States it seems that every year there is a child who dies because their fundy parents are expecting god to heal them of their illness instead of doctors... given that all the quality evidence shows that expecting a god cure or a homeopathy cure are on-par with each other, and at a threshold far below 'conventional medicine' then I, for one, am inclined to to my part to debunk homeopathy (and god for that matter).

My question to you: What is the need to be hell-bent on showing homeopathy is legitimate medicine?

Quote:
Is there anyone among us in this forum who can challenge, with relevant expertise in medicine and healthcare, Nancy on homeopathy? Let's then get that person to challenge Nancy so they can debate even at the level of technicalities.


How about expertise in biology, biochemistry, physics, organic chemistry, and molecular biology? Any of those knowledge-bases up to your benchmark for challenging the validity of homeopathy?

Quote:
I already know that many of you here have no greater knowledge than even someone like me when it comes to healthcare and medicine. It is pretty apparent. But since you hold yourselves in enough esteem to demand "we need evidence not anecdotes", let's figure out how good we really are at the subject.


Pot? Meet keetle. Kettle? Meet pot.

In one sentence you proclaim that anecdotal evidence is sufficient
In the next you demand expertise

Where are you on this spectrum, again? I'm not trying to single you out, Nirvanam, but it does seem that you have a distinct opinion about expertise or lack thereof as well as the validity of anecdotes -- which goes completely against expertise; I am confused....

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December 17th, 2009, 3:11 pm
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