Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

This is a reply to a comment posted by Unfiltered Perception. Unlike my original post, that started this dialogue, the following is written in my mother tongue. 

Post dialogue with a sceptic

Before I move into any other field, I would firstly like to thank Unfiltered Perception for being the first and best sceptic to answer my eight point Sceptics Checklist.

Understand me correctly, the title of this post stands to highlight the absence of anything angelic about me, and ultimately it is up to the reader to unravel how much of a fool I may be.

The checklist was created to, suprisingly enough, highlight thought patterns, not to (contrary to what one may think) promote my own studies or personal belief in homeopathic medicine. And as lovers of science and all things tangible and unrelated to superstition, sceptics, as I can gather, see homeopathy as either downright boring, or highly vexing.

I have said this before, so time for a little re-iterating: I dislike DOGMA, whether it be religious dogma, alternative-thinker dogma or the dogma of a sceptic. I dislike arbitrary thought patterns, or the unchallenged mind condemned by its owner to forever stay half asleep. I couldn´t be less worried about so-called chemtrails for example, such extensive biological brainwashing couldn´t be more unnecessary considering that most of us (as I see it) are already hypnotized. What are we hypnotized by one may ask? Self programming, or to be fair, remnants from childhood and/or lack of interest in our own self manipulated minds.

Many of the sceptic´s allies have called upon me to produce scientific evidence proving the effectiveness of homeopathy. I could oblige and cough up those good old double blind studies, or the cases of patients resistance to allopathic medicine, or complete response to homeopathic medicine, or the response to homeopathic medicine by animals, but the sceptics don´t really want examples. No, wait, I was wrong. They do, so that we dolphin-loving, incense-burning alternative weirdos can be freely ridiculed or accused of selectively tampering with the facts.

And trust me on this one: If I had it in me to accept that reality stopped at the last fullstop of a PDF entitled Official Scientific Evidence, I would give myself a break and throw myself into government approved vaccine programs for children like the other mummies credulously do. How much simpler life would be then.

My posts are suggestions, they serve for the most part as a personal demand for greater insight into myself, by means of the written word. I am happy if they are appreciated by inquisitive, reflective readers, but I do not need disciples.

Just before I sign off, on my list of credentials I have worked as a shop girl almost all of my life, and guess what, I dare to insinuate that the average woman uses far too much money on home-styling and fashion. I can prove it… we have the receipts!!

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About hillviewroad

Gestalt student, Pilates teacher.
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58 Responses to Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

  1. Kristoffer H. says:

    Since your post is in English, I will reply in English, although it is not my mother tongue. Hence, any errors can be attributed to said fact, and (hopefully) not lack of education.

    I must admit, I was slightly disappointed by your reply. I was expecting more of a point-by-point rebuttal of the post blogged by Unfiltered Perception. Despite that, I find it refreshing that you categorically reject dogma – I would claim that dogma, and not money, is in fact the root of all evil (although money makes a good runner-up). But I digress..

    I was rather keen on reading your reply to certain issues regarding homeopathy and “evidence”. I will post the specific questions here, and I do hope you will take the time to respond to them. I would appreciate that.

    Might I add that I am but a blog-reader, not in any way affiliated with the blog Unfiltered Perception (apart from the odd comment in comments section of said blog).

    1. Regarding the epistemology; how do we best find the answer to the question “Does homeopathy treat disease beyond what can be attributed to the placebo-effect?” ?

    I would claim that “personal experience”, “case examples” aka. anecdotes, and the like rate rather low on the evidence-scale. This is due to human nature, and the way our minds are designed to work; we are so adept at seeking and finding patterns that we see them also where there are none. In other words, “you can’t necessarily believe your own eyes”, eyes meaning experience. This is why there is good science, and there is bad science. Do we agree when I claim that the best way to answer the above question is to examine the best evidence possible, meaning evidence at the top of the so-called evidence-scale? Meta-analyses? Do you agree that if the meta-analyses (or RCTs, perhaps) fail to conform to our own personal experience or opinion – then that must mean that WE are in fact mistaken, not the evidence?

    2. Could you please provide a reference to the “good old double blind studies” you briefly mention in your post? Any references to new, well-designed trials is also greatly appreciated.

    3. What, specifically, would it take to convince you that homeopathy does not “work” (meaning homeopathic remedies cannot “treat” disease better than placebo)? Will you believe it as long as the patients/clients tell you that they believe it works, despite “scientific” evidence of the contrary (assuming such exists for the sake of argument)? Do you require anything beyond positive feedback from clients to maintain your trust in homeopathy, and if you do; what?

    I look forward to reading you reply.

    -Kristoffer H.

    • hillviewroad says:

      Hello, thanks for your good and intelligent response. Its a shame you were disappointed, but my response is purely a reflection of myself. Let me try to answer some of your questions.
      Question 1/2
      Well I would have to say yes, since I have embarked on a five year study in Homeopathy, that was subjective so here come some facts. In double blind tests homeopathy has been shown to works as well as a placebo, and in a recent “double blind” swiss trial it faired better. A very is a very stringent trial designed to limit placebo effect where neither the individuals or the researchers know the identity of the control group or the experimental group. After all data is recorded and/or analyzed can the researcher learn which individuals where which. Here are two links which relate to your questions on placebo and dbl blind studies. One is from a “natural health” site the other a site neutral to homeopathy:
      http://www.naturalnews.com/035499_homeopathic_medicine_Swiss_report.html
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17227746

      If we wish to find out more about homeopathy as a viable treatment option we must put our faith in Meta-analysis or random control trials/Double blind trials We would be fools to distrust the methods available for investigating homeopathic validity. The evidence is the evidence, we must put our faith in its results.
      Did you know that homeopathy has also shown to be effective for treating animals?
      http://www.homeopathy-soh.org/research/evidence-base-for-homeopathy-2/animal-studies/

      What would it take for me to not believe i homeopathy? To give you a really boring answer, to observe no health effect or positive change in either my own or my families health after ingesting homeopathy.

      I have pointed out so I hope I haven´t mislead you, that I am at present a student, which makes it unethical for me to treat patients. I I Have however satisfied testimonials from patients helped by homeopaths who have completed their education.

      I will continue answering you during the next few days, I hope some of the information provided has been of use to you.

      With kind regards
      Roseanna

      • Jørgen says:

        I see that you have given this a great deal of thought, but there are some things that seem strange to me. How do you know that the effect that you are witnessing is due to the homeopathic medicine, and not the treatment itself? And furthermore, how do you separate the positive change that you witness from the effect we know placebo has in all of us, regardless of the type of medicine we ingest?

        Placebo is a well known effect that we can witness the results from, not only in adults, but in animals, and children as well, long before they have any concept of what placebo is. This is also not so strange. The administration of medicine to animals or children is normally paired with a great deal of comforting and care, so the fact that they respond to the act of receiving medicine, regardless of its contents, is not strange. My daughter gets instant pain relief from a band-aid, even though it is only a piece of fabric with glue on the back. And the fabric doesn’t “remember” any pain killers it has inadvertedly come into contact with in my medicine cabinet…

        I also can’t see any links in your reply, unfortunately…

      • hillviewroad says:

        I know, thank you. I just saw that my links didn´t come up. I have corrected that now. You have given this field a lot of thought too, I understand this from your rehtorical questions. I would like offer you some answers, but could you try to phrase yourself so that I don´t have to bore myself simply defending homeopathy. I may not have time now but I will endeavour to answer helpfully later.

      • Henning says:

        You wrote: “In double blind tests homeopathy has been shown to works as well as a placebo”.

        This shows that you have absolutely no understanding of the scientific method. A threatment with no effect is *expected* to work as well as a placebo in a double blind test! That is just what the placebo is: A threatment with no effect.

      • hillviewroad says:

        Thank you for your comment.

        Just before I say anything more to you, please keep in mind: If you would like to contribute to this discussion on my blog, I only respond to polite contributors. Sweeping statements are also not permitted!

        Ok. The study in question is just one of many examples where placebo is documented as having had a “positive effect” on patients. That is what “placebo effect” means. I find it interesting that something that doesn´t exist can have a measurable effect. Do you?

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman/luc-montagnier-homeopathy-taken-seriously_b_814619.html

      • Jørgen says:

        Can’t make ant more levels, so I’ll continue here. When you claim that I am using rhetorical questions it implies that I’m not really interested in an answer, but nothing could be further from the truth. The difference between a placebo effect and a clinical effect is the whole essence. Any treatment yields a placebo effect. Even doctors who administer what they know to be non working medicine (sugar pills, in essence just candy) to themselves even experience the placebo effect.

        You don’t have to defend homeopathy at all, I’m simply curious to whether you really know what the placebo effect is or not. I think I have a basic understanding of it, given I am most definitely a layman in the medical world. And my understanding tells me that any treatment where the treated is expecting a positive result will report such a positive result, regardless of the treatment, and the effect of any medicine administered. Because of this, the placebo effect has to be taken into account any time a medicine is examined, because for a medicine to have clinical effect, it has to outperform placebo.

        The point is: the mere act of treating someone will yield a positive result, regardless of the medicine given. The medicine itself should have to have effect on top of this to even be regarded as a medicine. So here is a rhetorical statement to finish off this little rant: if you really don’t expect medicine to outperform placebo, it’s no use having this discussion, as it is the sole argument for my doubts about homeopathy. And prayer. And healing. And crystals. And… You get the idea.

      • Henning says:

        Can’t make more levels in the discussion, so I place the answear to https://hillviewroad.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/fools-rush-in-where-angels-fear-to-tread/#comment-47 here:

        You first wrote that homeopathy was shown to work as well as placebo in duble blind tests. I pointed out that this is not a valid argument for the effectiveness of homeopathy, as a non working threatment is expected to have the same affect as placebo. I don’t question the effectiveness of placebo, and yes, I think it is curious that placebo can have an actual effect. The point I am trying to make is that what you apparenty take as evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathy, I take as evidence for the effect of homeopathy just beeing placebo.

        Think of it this way: If you split patients in two groups, and give one group “real” homeopathic medicine, and the other group “fake” homeopathic medicine, which group should get best results? Most high quality tests shows that the two groups get similar results (but better than control groups getting no medicine). This indicates that the homeopathic medicine in itself is not having any effect, but going to a homeopath and getting a “medicine” *can* have an effect. This effect is only a placebo effect. So in this sense, homeopathy is in a way “working”, but it has nothing to do with the homeopathic “medicines”.

  2. Jørgen says:

    Why do you assume what sceptics “want”? How do you know? I am one, and I can tell you that you missed your mark with me, big time…

    • hillviewroad says:

      I apologize, what kind of sceptic are you?

      • Jørgen says:

        When you say “I could oblige and cough up those good old double blind studies, or the cases of patients resistance to allopathic medicine, or complete response to homeopathic medicine, or the response to homeopathic medicine by animals, but the sceptics don´t really want examples”, I actually, really, do want examples, that’s the kind of sceptic I am. I am the kind that believes that a case can only be thoroughly understood by looking at all aspects. And the fact of the matter, as insofar as I, a layman in the study of homeopathy, can assess, there are random studies that show some positive effect, but the overwhelming number of properly performed studies on homeopathy shows that it simply doesn’t work (any better than placebo). The so-called medicine, that is…

        And how could it? It is only water.

  3. Ole J. says:

    First:
    A question for you: Do you think that water molecules (H2O) have memory?

    I try to discuss homeopathy with people at work who use it and tell me it works for them. After a while we end up with the idea of “memory”. Btw, non of the supporters of homeopathy have given me any pointers to double blind studies that confirm that it works. Hope you can!

    Last:
    Gunnar talks in his blogs about how easy it is to fool our self (our memory is not to trust etc.)
    A very good book for this topic is Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, fast and slow”. In my opinion it is one of the best text for developing good sceptic skills.

    • hillviewroad says:

      Hi and thank you for your comment. Yes I do believe water molecules have memory and I will of course provide you with some info surrounding this. However I am a little concerned that you may not validate my sources seeing as I am a student of homeopathy and as far as I know there is little if any neutrally angled literature. What do you think? Thank you also for the book suggestion.

      • Jørgen says:

        How would you suggest to prove to us non-believers that water has memory? Something that contradicts with a substantial amount of current science…

        And, if water has memory, how come it only remembers the specific components a homeopathy medicine maker wants it to remember? After all, all water is part of the same cycle, and if dilution is the key, the most potent homeopathic medicine of all would be the Earth’s seas, as all water comes in contact with this at some point or another. Also, if the homeopathic idea of diluting a medicine with more water makes it more potent, why don’t people who use homeopathic medicine simply dilute the small (and insanely over-priced) bottles of water with more water, to make more and more potent medicine?

  4. Marit says:

    I read unfiltered’s response to your list and subsequently your original blogpost by accident. I was really hoping for you to present a concrete response to this, where you took unfiltered’s answers seriously and considered what he had to say. Instead you come up with this totally empty ramble containing nothing of substance whatsoever. This just segments my perception of people who believe in alternative theories as the ones who are unable to keep an open mind. Unfiltered has not dismissed your questions, or ridiculed them, they were well phrased and seemed to open for a constructive dialogue, but you have closed the dialogue completely and reverted to mere generalizations of sceptics as people who don’t take you seriously by default, when in fact you were met by the opposite response to your original blogpost.

    • hillviewroad says:

      Thank you for your comments. I am hearing you. It is however a shame that you feel that “unfiltered” was not taken seriously by me? But may I ask? Why did you expect me to answer in the same way? Unfiltered and myself have different voices, we stand for different things. His voice was NOT dismissed by me. Did you understand my “ramblings” concerning thought patterns? I am raising issues concerning ingrained arbitrary thought, in a way regardless of homeopathy. I question my own, and my alternative peers “pattern” tendencies. Finally: How do you define a closed mind? Perhaps mine is “cemented”? BTW I have no expectations of how YOU will answer.

      • Marit says:

        I fail to see what is not dissmissive about comments like: “but the sceptics don´t really want examples. No, wait, I was wrong. They do, so that we dolphin-loving, incense-burning alternative weirdos can be freely ridiculed or accused of selectively tampering with the facts.” and “I would give myself a break and throw myself into government approved vaccine programs for children like the other mummies credulously do.”? Anyway I am very happy to see that you are now willing to show links to the studies you were alluding to earlier. That is a very good sign and definately a step in the right direction.

        However, I am curious to know who you think are caught in closed thought patterns. In your comments above you first claim to be interested in scientific methodology, and believe that it offers the best way to discern one method from the other, but in the same breath you say that only personal experience can make your faith in homeopathy waver. To me this seems to indicate that science doesn’t really mean squat to you, unless it confirms your original view in which case it can be used as a nice extra bonus.

        To give you a chance of answering even more concretely to these questions, though, I would like to offer an alternative’s checklist for you to think through, in order to consider thought patterns as well:

        1. Can people, and lots of them, do things that turn out to be studpid and irrational in the hopes of bettering their life situation fast and painlessly when other alternatives seem dim? (An example could for instance be the pyramid scandal in Albania in the late ninteen ninties)

        2. Is it possible for some people to know, or aquire greater knowledge about a certain subject than other people, maybe even than many or most other people? (For instance is it possible that last year’s Nobel prize winner in chemistry knows more about chemistry than 1000 random people off the street, that a qualified carpenter knows more about building houses than people that aren’t, and that someone who has played harmonica since they were children, would play it better than me?)

        3. Does not knowing everything mean that you know absolutely nothing.? (For instance if I don’t know exactly where my keys are, do I have to consider it likely for the keys to be on Mars, the south Pole, or the staff mens room at the airport in Dubai, or can I in many cases actually state with considerable certainty (though not absolute) that the keys are in fact somewhere in my appartement?)

        4. Are there statements that can actually be found false, and how would you go about doing that? Are all statements equally valid?

        5. Are there skills that are general enough to be used in different fields and to discern the validity of very different things? (For instance, can I use the skill I aquired in school of multiplying numbers to find the area of my terrace so I know how much oil I would need to oil it, and also later to find out how much money I need to purchase a certain amount of potatoes at a certain price per kilo?)

        Lastly I would like to clearify something that it seems to me from your comments above that you have misunderstood (or it may be a misprint). If a drug or treatment performs as well as placebo, does not mean that it works. On the contrary, this means that though it is presumably not directly harmful, the method in itself really doesn’t do anything.

        And what do I mean by close minded: I am a physicist. Physics has one of the best theories ever designed. The perfect match between theory and experiment in Quantum Electro Dynamics (QED) is so mindblowing, that no medical subject can dream of competing. (This does not mean that physicists are better than other scienticsts, it really has a lot to do with the matter of the subject. Electrons are not effected by placebo, very few ethical issues are involved in colliding them an so on.) For the theory behind homeopathy to be true all of this has to be chucked (this does not mean that homeopathy necessarily doesn’t work, just that it can’t work in the way it is supposedly working). Asking me to take the theory behind homeopathy seriously in the light of this, is kind of like showing an architect the opera house in Sidney and a small pile of dung, asking him which is the better opera house, and then getting insulted at the fact that he takes the dungpile as either a really rotten joke, or a direct insult to his profession.

        Just like you think I am close minded not to consider homeopathy, I find you close minded in not considering the wonders of physics. Why look for fantastic explanations outside the realm of science when in fact within it there are marvels that most of us can hardly begin to phatom?

        You seem to be a rational and wellspoken person, and I wish you all the best in your life. If you want to keep your mind as open as possible, I think studying homeopathy is not the best way forward. The more time and confidence you invest, the harder (if not downright impossible) it will be for you to acknowledge fault with it, just because it will require you to take on the identity of someone who has been fooled. Of course this is somewhat true of any aquiring of knowledge within any field. However, finding fault with the current theories is one of the most important parts of science, and can win you great esteem. I somehow doubt that the same is true within the alternative medicine community (but I may well be wrong about this).

  5. hillviewroad says:

    Hi, there were many of you yesterday asking about water and the memory of water. Here´s a short documentary (under 3 minutes) about an interesting experiment conducted by The Aerospace Institute in Stuttgart, Germany. Værsågod!

    http://homeopathyresource.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/new-research-from-aerospace-institute-of-the-university-of-stuttgart-scientifically-proves-water-memory-and-homeopathy/

  6. Ole J says:

    Roseanna,

    I like your attitude – to me you are more open and willing discuss this topic than most believers in homeopathy I have met. Cudos to you!

    I wrote a piece about “water and memory” in 2011 (in response to some people I was talking with at work). It is here: http://abelix.hive.no/wordpress/?p=406

    If you look, you can see that I talk about the infamous Jacques Benveniste. He is of course still refered to (as in the clip you just gave link to) by homeopaths.

    What really interest me is brain science. In that regard, I find that some people, very few, but still some, are able (after investing many years in some “dogmas”) to break out.
    One recent example is the “Clergy Projec” : http://clergyproject.org/

    Even if you Roseanna, have invested 5 years in studying homeopathy, I think that you later could come to a new conclusion – that it was an illusion? Time will tell 😉

    Regards,

    Ole

    • hillviewroad says:

      Thank you for your links, I will be sure to read them. The funny thing is, is that as I have tried to convey to my critics that homeopathy is a para-subject for me. Yes I happen to believe in its validity, but what I was really getting at with the whole “skeptics checklist” was “mind sets” or dogma.( maybe Ill make a “checklist” for the spiritually inclined)

      I observe that the whole repetitive homeopathic debate provokes engaged but rather predictable responses in its critics. They want facts which Ill attempt to provide, but that was not the point.

      I like to think I have an open mind that challenges its beliefs from time to time, and I try to stay away from dogma at all costs. My comments or posts are suggestions I would never dream of trying to either save or convert any human.

      I admit to also believing in things I cannot see,… unfortunately not unicorns!;)

    • hillviewroad says:

      Hi Ole
      I have taken a little look at the Clergy project that you recommended. I was truly riveted. I expect one may also find examples of the opposite occuring.
      Kind regards

  7. hillviewroad says:

    Hi,

    Two links which cover some of the other themes we have discussed.
    From a Homeopathically neutral medical web library in the US.

    1. Updated methods for testing the validity of homeopathic medicine:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22510227

    2. A Trial conducted on treatment of modern allergies using homeopathic medicine:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22138796

    Both reports are relatively short.

  8. hillviewroad says:

    To Marit:
    Thank you for your thorough response.
    My comments that you highlight as dismissive, I can understand could be perceived as such, although not the intention.

    “but the sceptics don´t really want examples. No, wait, I was wrong. They do, so that we dolphin-loving, incense-burning alternative weirdos can be freely ridiculed or accused of selectively tampering with the facts.” and “I would give myself a break and throw myself into government approved vaccine programs for children like the other mummies credulously do.”?

    What did I mean? This is me pre-empting a sceptics retaliation on suggestions for homeopathic evidence , and decorating with poetic licence a stereo typical “alternativ tilhenger”.
    What I say next eludes to NOT challenging science, how that makes for an easier existence, buying everything an overpower says is good for you. Yes I admit to being vaccine sceptical, however I do not wish to open yet another pandoras box on that subject, seeing as I intend to use my blog for other interests.

    Because ultimately I believe in the healing abilities of homeopathy, I believe that it should also be subjected to some of the same rigorous testing other potential medicines are. I am not satisfied with the “placeboic” attitude “if it helps, it doesn´t matter whats in it” That to me is a lazy attitude, that not only belittles homeopathy but also the potential patient.

    Do you have any scientific reflections that are purely your own? Do they have to be shared by the mass for you to trust in them? Would you dare to talk about individual findings if they did´nt conform to what your peers expected of you?

    I ask these questions because it seems that my personal experiences with homeopathy are rendered null and void by the sceptic. I use homeopathy on myself and children, it does the job, I see it as complimentary. I am not a fanatic, I have faith in allopathic medicine too, (you may need a bucket now Marit) since I am going to be so crazy and insinuate that homeopathy aligns more with the inner being, where as traditional medicine addresses for the most the mechanics of the body.

    If in one study the homeopathy proves to be equally good as a placebo, with faith in homeopathy I consider that to be a fair outcome, but obviously not good enough. Out proving is logically the desired result, not just by a margin either. I am sorry to say this to a physicist but (as you know far better than myself) science isn´t always reliable.

    Questions:
    1. 1. Can people, and lots of them, do things that turn out to be stupid and irrational in the hopes of bettering their life situation fast and painlessly when other alternatives seem dim? (An example could for instance be the pyramid scandal in Albania in the late ninteen nineties)

    A. Absolutely, yes. Just look at what happened with asbestos. But the Albanians where in a terrible situation, with no money coming in they tried to circulate invisible means, costing many people their life savings.

    2.. Is it possible for some people to know, or aquire greater knowledge about a certain subject than other people, maybe even than many or most other people? (For instance is it possible that last year’s Nobel prize winner in chemistry knows more about chemistry than 1000 random people off the street, that a qualified carpenter knows more about building houses than people that aren’t, and that someone who has played harmonica since they were children, would play it better than me?)

    A. Absolutely, yes. Dan Shechtman, clearly knows a whole lot about chemistry. His work was finally brought into the spotlight after many years of grafting. There maybe however others who know more?

    3.. Does not knowing everything mean that you know absolutely nothing.? (For instance if I don’t know exactly where my keys are, do I have to consider it likely for the keys to be on Mars, the south Pole, or the staff mens room at the airport in Dubai, or can I in many cases actually state with considerable certainty (though not absolute) that the keys are in fact somewhere in my apartment?)

    A. Exactly this was a really good one, we can never know everything, that doesn´t mean we know nothing. If Mars was your last destination, it is logical that your keys most likely will be found there.

    4. 4. Are there statements that can actually be found false, and how would you go about doing that? Are all statements equally valid?

    A. Statements founded on experience or thorough investigation should be treated as valid.

    5. 5. Are there skills that are general enough to be used in different fields and to discern the validity of very different things? (For instance, can I use the skill I aquired in school of multiplying numbers to find the area of my terrace so I know how much oil I would need to oil it, and also later to find out how much money I need to purchase a certain amount of potatoes at a certain price per kilo?)

    A. No, unspecific, generalized knowledge is always a little sketchy. Sorry, I really don´t know much about oiling terraces??

    I didn´t ask you to take homeopathy seriously? You accused me of not having an open mind along with those other alternatives, (in a blasé fashion)

    Homeopathy doesn´t resonate with you. Do you require me to see things in the same way you do, so that you will you validate me. I am not looking for your approval. Homeopathy is my thing You are a physicist, I am not interested in changing you. I do am not interested in winning great esteem from what other people think of me. Do you want me to see your light?
    Have you read Nineteen eighty-four by George Orwell? Would the world be a better place if we all just got a grip and became clones, sharing collective thought?

    Thank you for your contributions to this discussion, I wish you all happiness in your life, and that you will be continually be met with respect for your endeavors

    Kind regards Roseanna

    Approve Trash | Mark as Spam

  9. CiViX says:

    Here’s my response to some of the arguments and studies from Roseanna:

    http://tjomlid.com/?p=6248

  10. hillviewroad says:

    Hei,

    Takk for din respons til mine argumenter og studier.

    Det er synd du mener jeg er arrogant når jeg bruker så mye tid som jeg gjør på å finne studier som har homeopatisk nøytrale holdninger. Som allerede nevnt hater jeg dogma i alle former, og presiserer derfor i kommentarfeltet at homeopati skal underlegges de samme type tester som andre potensielle medisiner. Jeg presiserer også at effekt på linje med placebo selfølgelig ikke godt nok, og at slike innstillinger både underminerer homeopatien, og enda viktigere, pasienten.

    Jeg har ikke studert homeopati i 5 år. Jeg er i mitt tredje år, av fem.

    Jeg setter pris på at du tar deg tid til å si din mening om undersøkelsene jeg henviser til, men tror nytteverdien for meg ville vært enda større dersom du hadde vært mindre selektiv i det du velger å sitere.

    Jeg er motivert av ønsket om å være til hjelp for andre mennesker, men antar du mener det ikke er mulig med valget av homeopati som redskap. Det er selfølgelig ditt perogativ (fulle rett).

    Med vennlig hilsen
    Roseanna

  11. Ole J says:

    Gunnar Tjomlid and others are doing a good job in questioning homeopathy, so I will return to something I said in an earlier post here.
    Let me start with a question: Why are there so few true sceptics in the world?

    “Thinking, fast and slow” by Daniel Kahneman give some very good answers to that question.
    Cognitive illusions are the main theme of Kahneman,s book. A cognitive illusion is a false belief that we intuitively accept as true.
    As Gunnar has said many times in his great blog, we are all victims of cognitive illusions. I’ll get back to that, but first a bit about another important topic in the book.

    Kahneman starts by explaining the existence in our brains of two independent sytems for organizing knowledge: System 1 and System 2. System 1 is fast, allowing us to recognize faces and understand speech in a fraction of a second. It must have evolved from the ancient little brains that allowed our mammalian ancestors to survive in a world of big predators. Survival in the jungle requires a brain that makes quick decisions based on limited information. Intuition is the name we give to judgments based on the quick action of System 1.
    System 2 is the slow process of forming judgments based on conscious thinking and critical examination of evidence. It gives us a chance to correct mistakes and revise opinions. It probably evolved more recently than System 2.

    Why do we not abandon the error-prone System 1 and let the more reliable System 2 rule our lives? Kahneman gives a simple answer to this question: System 2 is lazy. To activate System 2 requires mental effort. Mental effort is costly in time and also in calories.
    People I know or have met, that are part of the so called “alternative movement”, very often praise intuition. They go by intuition so to speak. (Btw, Roseanna is not so typical in that respect – I believe that she is open to a more sceptic look at things.)

    Kanemann has a section in the book called “Illusion of Truth”. When we hear a thing we have heard before, we tend to just accept that, so when someone says “A chcicken has four legs”, we have to address System 2 to question it. System 1 would just “know” that many animals have four legs and take it for a fact.
    Let me end this post with a quote from Kahneman (Loc 1124 in my Kindle): “A releiable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.”

    If you have invested many years in Jesus (see the “Clergy Project”), it is not easy to change that. The same if you have invested years in the idea that “water has memory”. 😉

    Kind regards,
    Ole

  12. signis says:

    @Ole J- When you say “illusion of truth” what about anaesthesia? Anaesthesia’s mechanism is unknown, (“The full mechanism of action of volatile anaesthetic agents is unknown and has been the subject of intense debate.”- wikipedia and other sources).

    I have not personally experienced general anaesthesia so how would I know it is not a ‘falsehood that has been frequently repeated’?

  13. signis says:

    Hello Ole J- But that is anecdotal and I also don’t think there are any double blind studies about heart surgery either. But thank goodness it worked for you!

    So why should I trust you relaying your experience as the “beauty of science” and not trust someone relaying an experience with homeopathy as the “beauty of science”. Both anaesthesia and homeopathy are implausible according to some, with a mechanism in dispute. There are many researchers and scientists studying homeopathy and even nobel prize winners who say it has scientific validity. Are there certain scientists say, that are “illusory” and ones that are not? What is the criteria?

    Take care.

    • Ole J. says:

      Signis, are you joking? Double blind studies on heart surgery?

      Thanks to science based medicine, I am one of many people still alive! My experience was not about if heart surgery is working or not. All I said was that under anaesthesia I did not feel anything. I was not aware of anything the surgeons did. The team that did the operation are doing this every day and they know that it works. Do they need double blind studies for knowing this? No, they have what we call “empirical evidence”.

      Unlike homeopathy heart surgery is not placebo 😉

      As for the “beauty of science”. When I talk to “new age people” at work (or creationists – yes we even have a professor here, believeing in that nonsense), I tell them:
      “Why not start reading about science instead of waisting the life on pseudoscience and conspiracy theories or old religious books?”

      Saying this, is of course not helping. My “alternative friends” are still deep into their “thing”. That is why I study Kahneman (and others) with great interest.

      By doing experiments (including double blind tests), Kahneman and others have moved psychology into real science. It is no longer arm chair speculation. There are many examples in Kahnemann’s book that show how our brain works – too many and perhaps too long for quoting here.

      Signis, get the book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, read it – then come back,. I’ll be happy to start a conversation based on that topic. Perhaps not here, but we can take it to my blog.

      O.J.

    • Jørgen says:

      The point is that we only have to worry about finding out what is happening after it has been determined that something is indeed happening. With anaesthetics, something is indeed happening, that is way beyond what could be described as placebo. Pain killers that have passed the medical science testing have a documented effect that surpasses placebo, other “pain killers” (acupuncture, homeopathy etc) have not. And it is only when a treatment has a documented effect it is interesting to find out the mechanics. Not all mechanics are understood, such as with pain killers or anaesthetics, but we know they work. Because they outperform placebo.

      That is the criteria, pure and simple, it has to outperform placebo, i.e. have an effect greater than what the body itself can trigger and effectuate.

  14. Ole J. says:

    Gunnar,
    Interesting articles you pointed to (you have a lot of knowledge in these subjects).

    I remember in the “good old days”, that people with heart problems (angina pectoris) would use “nitro” (nitroglycerin). That was the only remedy. With moderne surgery (or using stents) things are very different. My father had a triple bypass at around 70. He lived until he was 90. On “nitro” he would not have had so many good years. Placebo can for sure be a strong effect, but if the problem with the heart is so severe that you can suffer a major heart attack any time, no placebo can help you. 😦

    Luckily most people in Norway use science based medicin when they have life threatening conditions. “Alternative people” that I know, will do that, but when having a cold they go to homeopathy, etc – I find that harmless. (It is like having a private beleif in a god, but being secular when it comes to politics.)

  15. signis says:

    LOL! You are all discussing medical techiniques that have been developed through CLINICAL results and I would not want to be without surgery or anaesthesia. And by the way, one study and article does not negate heart surgery. LOL!

    Then you flip into a theoretical discussion of medicine and science and dismiss homeopathy and surgery. Homeopathy has 200 years of clinical results and millions use it daily. But not only that there is scientific evidence for it working. But because it is implausible or for other religious theoretical reasons to you, you dismiss it.

    I am skeptical of your non-scientific thinking and do not really care about your religious or non-religious beliefs. And determining that someone is “alternative people” also is not a very scientific answer either.

    So you have not really answered my questions and the questions are still- I’ll repeat some of it. Both anaesthesia and homeopathy are implausible according to some, with a mechanism in dispute. There are many researchers and scientists studying homeopathy and even nobel prize winners who say it has scientific validity, documented effect more than placebo and has observable results. In Germany there are thousands of trained (in science too!) medical doctors who use it and say there is observable results and clinical effect.

    So, are there certain scientists and experiments say, that are “illusory” and ones that are not? Are you saying that the thousands of medical doctors who use it are just “alternative people”? Is science just a people thing?

    What is the criteria?

  16. CiViX says:

    Regarding the “Swiss report” on homeopathy, please read this:

    http://www.zenosblog.com/2012/05/that-neutral-swiss-homeopathy-report/

  17. signis says:

    Are you attempting to answer my question by linking to a blog as a scientific and research authority? LOL.

    In any case, I just read this blogger’s opinion. So- it definitely goes to my question about science by personality and why someone would defame researchers and scientists by virtue of their research interests.

    Why is it that the blog writer/you/skeptics say that Edzard Ernst, who is a chair of complimentary medicine is “good” and “scientific” (i.e vehemently against homeopathy) and then say that Peter Matheisson, one of the authors of the Swiss report, who is also a chair of complimentary medicine is “bad” and “unscientific” (i.e. neutral/pro about homeopathy, and well published in other fields as well, unlike Ernst) .

    It seems to be that you are arbitrating science via personality and blogs.

    Both anaesthesia and homeopathy are implausible according to some, with a mechanism in dispute. There are many researchers and scientists studying homeopathy and even nobel prize winners who say it has scientific validity. Are there certain scientists say, that are “illusory” and ones that are not? What is the criteria? Who arbitrates this- internet blogs? Is science just a people thing?

  18. Ole J says:

    signis, why are you trying to link anaesthesia and homeopathy?

    Anaesthesia used in surgery has risk factors.
    James Randi takes homeopathic pills in his shows, ho risk there 😉

    If a nobel prize winner mean that homeopathy has valitdity, it does not mean a thing. (“Argument from authorithy”, we call it).

  19. signis says:

    Now you are giving me and others a video of a magic show as YOUR “argument from authority”. LOL!

    You haven’t answered any of my questions directly really.

    You are sidestepping the issue. But wait, perhaps you have really answered the question of who is the science arbiter by your links and telling me that you think a magician and a blogger should be the authority and ascertain the criteria.

    And this is science?

    • Ole J. says:

      No this is humour. I think Randi makes good fun of the superstition called homeopahty.

      As for not answering questions – this is very common for all of us. Remember “System 2” is very lazy. But, I will give you one more chance:

      Why are you trying to link anaesthesia and homeopathy?
      (Give your “System 2” a kick in the ass – try to give us a good answer to this question)

  20. Ole J. says:

    Just a note to the video (and to those who do not want to see all of it).
    At around 10:00, James Randi tell us how he took an overdose of homeopathic sleeping pills. He took 64 pills. Nothing happened. He has done this “overdose” many times since that. Also when he was in Norway last year.

  21. Kristin Bortolotti says:

    I always enjoy reading this blog. But what’s with the vultures? They bore me. Read this: http://www.csicop.org/si/show/myth_of_consistent_skepticism_the_cautionary_case_of_albert_einstein/

  22. Ole J. says:

    Thanks for the link Kristin!
    I think Daniel Kahneman will agree with the summary from that article:
    “No one is once and for all a skeptic. Skepticism is an ongoing, self-correcting process, not an end to be achieved. It is continually possible to not only backslide but to apply our skepticism inconsistently. We are all selective skeptics.”

  23. Ole J. says:

    Speaking of links….
    Since @signis gave no link or reference to the nobel prize winner, here it is:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luc_Montagnier

    • CiViX says:

      Whose studies have been discredited, whose studies have only been published in a journal he himself is the editor of, whose studies haven’t been independently replicated, who himself has stated that his results can not be extrapolated to homeopathy etc etc. But @signis just blurts out a lot of crap as if it is news without bothering to read what I’ve already written and documented. This is old, it is irrelevant, and it it factually wrong. Still @signis thinks this kind of argument is dynamite. Embarressing.

  24. signis says:

    Talk about discredited Civix- Randi is a magician and his partner and a board of director of his foundation has been charged with fraud and identity theft. Randi makes a lot of money from people like you who attend his shows in skeptic conferences. Why should I believe that he even took a homeopathic remedy? He is an illusionist!

    Talk about “argument from authority”!? But this is even worse, we are talking about magicians discrediting scientists. And you and your other cult members have jumped on the bandwagon. Whatever axe you have to grind Civix, at the very least there are some trained scientists and researchers who claim that homeopathy is scientific and works.

    There is one thing being an independant skeptic, which I am, and another following a bizarre form of cultism where homeopathy is your beating board. You cult skeptics are attempting to take the high ground yet you send me a magician, an illusionist as an authority!!! And then you attempt to discredit sincere scientists and researchers. Bizarre form of cultism.

    • CiViX says:

      I don’t care what Randi’s opinion is. He has been wrong before, for example about anthropogenic global warming, where he was corrected by a bunch of skeptics, and later officially changed his mind on the matter. Randi is no guru who anyone follows blindly, at least not me.

      I don’t know if you read Norwegian, but if you do you should check out my countless blogposts about homeopathy, where I have spend hours and hours reading and researching the published studies, and written extensively about them. I make up my own mind based on the available scientific evidence. So should you, but you don’t. You prefer anecdotes and personal experiences to good science. That’s a shame.

      I also wonder how you can conclude that homeopathy works based on a minute minority of scientists. I would guess that 99,9% of scientists within the fields of medicine and chemistry would agree that the science overwhelmingly shows that homeopathy does not work. Both the British and the Swiss government have concluded likewise after reviewing all the best available evidence. Still you claim that it works because maybe a handful of scientists (are said to) have stated that they believe it works.

      Would you go the same route for young Earth creationism? In the USA maybe as much as 2% of scientists in relevant areas believe in creationism. The number globally is probably much lower, as the US has the highest number of creationists, only surpassed by Turkey. So probably at least 99% of the worlds scientists do not believe in creationism, but agree that evolution is the reason for our current diversity of living species. Does this mean that creationism probably is true, because after all, a few really good scientists beilieve that the Christian God created the Universe and everything in it in only 6 days? Should we assume that the majority are just a flock of sheep and that the minority are the only ones who can think clearly? Or should we rather assume that the scientific consensus is a consensus for a reason? A very good reason, namely the undisputable fact that all good scientific research into homeopathy has shown that it does not work.

    • hillviewroad says:

      Good afternoon @signis, thank you for your contribution to my blog so far.

  25. Ole J says:

    Signis why are you so anrgy?

    Here is Randi on Ted, taking an “overdose”

  26. Ole J says:

    One more thing @signis,
    If you can prove that homeopathy works, you can win 1 million American Dollars.
    As you probably know, JREF has promised this reward.
    Come on now!
    Randi has for years been showing that it has no effects. (See the Ted video)
    Prove him wrong and get 1 million bucks.

  27. signis says:

    @Civix- Here you go again- “guessing” again and promulgating exaggerated statistics that in no way you have evidence for. It is strange that you would resort to this. It is a travesty for science.

    @ Ole j- You obviously worship Randi. And his million dollar offer is a fraud to get you to go to his lectures and pay the big money for it. A travesty for science.
    http://elephantsandmice.wordpress.com/2009/12/13/randi-dupes-his-followers-and-calls-off-the-vithoulkas-challenge-without-good-reason/

  28. signis says:

    This is all science by bloggers and trial by internet. I find the process very disturbing for science. You think the skeptic cult is the centre of science but it is not.

    By the way Civix, if you include scientists in India and Brazil where homeopathy is well-accepted you might be shocked by the statistics showing that statistically, a majority of world scientists and researchers are in favour of homeopathy and think it works. But perhaps these individuals and these countries do not meet your requirements for “scientists”?

    And about Randi-

    For example, I would much rather rely on a sleep study using homeopathy by faculty members of the Department of Family and Community Medicine,  Department of Psychiatry, Department of Psychology, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health,  Division of Family Studies and Human Development and the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at The University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson, AZ, USA and the Office of World Health Promotion & Disease Prevention, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA than a prank on a magic show by Randi the magician.

    Here is something about sleep from that University department:

    http://homeopathyresource.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/arizona-university-study-conclusively-shows-chosen-homeopathic-remedies-improve-sleep/

    • CiViX says:

      The science isn’t done by bloggers. We only refer to the published science out there. Read it.

      And then you give me a study which includes the following:

      “The study design was deliberately structured with single-blind placebo preceding allocation to one or the other of the two double-blind remedies in order to address a different potential methodological and theoretical concern, i.e., the reported risk of
      non-local or entanglement confounds of placebo and remedy effects, when treatment arms are administered double-blind in a closed system of a homeopathic study. Keeping the experimental system open with single-blind placebo may have provided a strategy to
      reduce the risk of entanglement between placebo and remedy effects [62–65].”

      The researchers actually expect a quantum mechanical effect, and therefore choses to perform part of the study only single blinded. Does that not disturb you at all? And what’s more, the study didn’t even have a control group! It’s utterly ridiculous.

      I put forward the best and most rigid meta analysis of the best double-blinded studies available, which shows that homeopathy doesn’t work, and you counter with a single study done by pro-homeopathy people, who allow single blinding as part of the protocol, and leaves out a control group?

      Wow.

      http://www.homeopathyoz.org/downloads/PolysomnographicTestingOfInsomnia-22Mar2010.pdf

  29. signis says:

    Civix; You’ve left a lot of my questions unanswered. Again, you are analyzing studies on the internet and calling the study “ridiculous”- that is a shocking scientific methodology and just plain rude.

    Yet, the individuals who conceived the studies are professionals, the study peer reviewed and the researchers have actually published MANY peer reviewed studies. So who should we believe? I choose the scientists and researchers and you and your fellow members will choose yourself and a magician!

    Lets leave it at that since you are putting me to sleep. I’ll give you the last word which I’m sure will be many.

    Roseanna – thank you for this opportunity. Please take care when confronted with these odd people, the grandiosity and the bullying.

    • CiViX says:

      I’m sorry, but if you believe the isolated result of a single study, single blinded without a control group, performed by people who believe so much in a positive result that they tweak the protocol to fit their completely unfounded views about quantum mechanical entanglement as an effect of homeopathy, can tell us anything conclusively about anything, then you just don’t understand the scientific process. And if you don’t understand the scientific process, then further discussion is pretty much useless until you educate yourself first.

      If I have left any relevant quiestions unanswered, please enlighten me, and I will answer to my best effort.

    • Jørgen says:

      What?? You yourself haven’t answered any of Civix’ questions, and you accuse him?

  30. hillviewroad says:

    Thanks everyone for your whole-hearted efforts in finding truth, perhaps one day our conversations will be even more fruitful.

    Roseanna

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