30 December 2007

Why science does not define reality

Filed under: bad science,Homeopathy,philosophy — homeopathy4health @ 5:13 pm
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Why Science Is Wrong « Bill Allin: Turning It Around

Science has done arguably a better job selling itself as a kind of humanistic religion than most religions have done selling themselves in recent decades. In the process, western society has transformed itself into materialistic cultures of doubters, naysayers and acquisitors. We believe nothing is credible unless it can be proven and nothing is of value unless it can be related somehow to money, its acquisition and its spending. While science has not taught this directly, the belief results from the prevailing beliefs and structures of science and their pervasive influence on our lives.

Moreover, science positions itself as the ultimate authority on “what is,” as it dictates that what science can understand and define should be all that we believe is correct and real. Science, through multiple sources, inputs that message of “provable equals real” into our brains to the point where many believe that only those things which we can detect using our senses are real.

In his book The Sense of Being Stared At and Other Unexplained Powers of the Human Mind, Rupert Sheldrake cites several case studies of people who have sensed that they are being stared at by someone other than those in front of them, then turned around to find someone doing just that, meeting them eye to eye before turning away. Most of us have had such experiences, though science calls them coincidences. For some, that kind of coincidence would be like winning a lottery three times in the same week.

We imagine, science says, false explanations for events that are nothing more than coincidences or events that could be explained otherwise by scientific study. It calls everything that people experience but that science can’t explain paranormal, with their stories being anecdotes, until enough scientists (or “amateur wannabes”) do more extensive research and publish their results, in which situation they become case studies. Even case studies, science maintains, are not the same as proof.

Science has, inadvertently, turned us into beings of the here and now, believing nothing that cannot be explained by what science knows or theorizes today. Science, meanwhile, has told itself that its own theories are fact so often that it accepts its favourite theories as soon-to-be-proven or all-but-proven truths. Theories that go against widely accepted scientific theories receive little attention and much derision when they get some. Theories about gravity, evolution, even Einstein’s relativity have doubters, but they receive little acknowledgement. Yet even Einstein had doubts about some of his work.

The “discovery” of cold fusion by Fleishman and Pons and its subsequent media attention resulted in their careers being trashed, though several scientists support their results today and efforts are being carried out in the US and France to build plants that will produce electricity through fusion at near room temperatures. Science changes its tune (and soon forgets its errors) when evidence proves the preachings of the science establishment to be clearly wrong.We, as societies, have accepted that nothing that cannot be proven or at least supported by our senses can be true. Thus we accept what our brain tells us is fact, but ignore or deny what our mind tells us exists even though it cannot be explained.

If science cannot cope with what we know are realities, what our experiences tells us are real, we must accept that these are failings and inadequacies of science. It’s not the role of science to make the realities of our lives trivial or inconsequential, but to explain what it can with the limited tools it has developed for itself to work with.Science is not the arbiter of reality in our lives, merely a tool we can use to explain some parts of our experience. We don’t use a hammer to drive a screw, nor do we deny the screw exists or claim it’s a figment of someone’s imagination because we don’t have a screwdriver. What science can’t do is its own problem, not one to be adopted by all of society.Science should not determine what we believe is real, only explain what it can about why we understand something as being real. We should not accept the labels science applies to what it cannot explain, words such as paranormal and supernatural, even hallucination, as if science is the sole judge of what is normal, what is natural, what is reality and what is truth.We should not give science that power over us and our lives. We have the potential to be much greater than science would allow is possible. Succumbing to the dictates of science makes us followers, as much as the followers of a false religion or an unmanageable political ideology.There are some things about life, truths and realities, that we don’t understand. That doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. It simply means that we can’t explain them.And that’s just fine. We must not allow science to bully us into believing that they don’t exist or that they are figments of our imagination.Bill Allin

28 December 2007

Sleep medication to treat a sleep-like state – treating like with like

The word ‘homeopathy’ is derived of two words: homeo denoting ‘similar’ and ‘pathy’ denoting ‘suffering’. Its principle is that of giving a substance which causes you to suffer from similar symptoms to your ailment, which you react against and cancel out your own symptoms.  It is reported this week that sleep medication has been found to rouse patients in a coma: it may be a simple case of homeopathic action.

Sleep medication offers hope to families of comatose patients « Health Sense

24 December 2007

Homeopathy – space medicine of the future?

Despite sceptics constrained by 19th century science claiming that homeopathy is a ‘quack’ 19th Century medicine, it is encouraging to hear that the 21st century space program is seriously considering using it: http://www.ebiologynews.com/2087.html

The paper presented by Prasanta and Pratip Banerji was based on the fact that the moon has no magnetic field and hence problems of dispersion, solubility, absorption, availability at tissue level, metabolism and excretion of drugs, including recycling problems and disposal, do exist.

“Thus, in such a state, the use of conventional medicines has its limitations. An alternative to conventional medicines will be ultra-diluted medicines that may help solve the problems,” said Prasanta Banerji.

Ultra-diluted medicines have the capability to act through nerve terminals when placed on our tongue to execute beneficial roles in our body.

“Ultra-diluted medicines are also non-toxic, with extended shelf-life, non-addictive, with negligible weight and volume, low-cost, and easily administrable,” he added.”

Many things we now take for granted came out of the space program: http://www.thespaceplace.com/nasa/spinoffs.html

Let’s hope homeopathy will be one of these in the future.  Happy Christmas.

22 December 2007

Fundamentalism – one of the great problems facing the world – leading to extreme scientism?

Homeopaths will recognise some of the themes in Dr Barry Morgan’s speech about how the rise in fundamentalism is polarising the world, in the current negativity about homeopathy from sceptic scientists who claim homeopathy has no scientific proof and should therefore be excluded from the already limited NHS provision despite high levels of reported effectiveness.  Is this homeophobia an indication of how extreme fundamentalist scientism will shape future health care?


The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, has described a rise in “fundamentalism” as one of the great problems facing the world.

He focused on what he described as “atheistic fundamentalism”.

He said it led to situations such as councils calling Christmas “Winterval”, schools refusing to put on nativity plays and crosses removed from chapels.

In his Christmas message, he said: “Any kind of fundamentalism, be it Biblical, atheistic or Islamic, is dangerous.”

The archbishop said “atheistic fundamentalism” was a new phenomenon.

He said it advocated that religion in general and Christianity in particular have no substance, and that some view the faith as “superstitious nonsense“.

God is not exclusive, he is on the side of the whole of humanity with all its variety
Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan

As well as leading to Christmas being called “Winterval,” the archbishop said “virulent, almost irrational” attacks on Christianity led to hospitals removing all Christian symbols from their chapels, and schools refusing to allow children to send Christmas cards with a Christian message.

He also said it led to things like “airlines refusing staff the freedom to wear a cross round their necks” – a reference to the row in which British Airways (BA) suspended an employee who insisted on wearing a cross necklace.

Dr Morgan said: “All of this is what I would call the new “fundamentalism” of our age. It allows no room for disagreement, for doubt, for debate, for discussion.

Children's nativity play

Only one in five schools perform a traditional nativity, say bishops

“It leads to the language of expulsion and exclusivity, of extremism and polarisation, and the claim that, because God is on our side, he is not on yours.”

He said the nativity story in St Luke’s Gospel, in contrast, had a “message of joy and good news for everyone”.

He said: “God is not exclusive, he is on the side of the whole of humanity with all its variety.”

Dr Morgan said it was “perfectly natural” to have a “coherent and rational debate about the tenets of the Christianity”.

But he said “virulent, almost irrational” attacks on it were “dangerous” because they refused to allow any contrary viewpoint and also affected the public perception of religion.

This month community cohesion minister Parmjit Dhanda said the UK should “celebrate” the role of Christianity in the country’s heritage and culture.

His comments came after Mark Pritchard, Conservative MP for The Wrekin, called a Westminster debate on “Christianophobia“, saying attempts to move Christian traditions to the “margins” of British life had “gone far enough”.

The National Secular Society has said Christians in the UK have “nothing to complain about“.

20 December 2007

Homeopathic dilutions and plant growth, there is an effect and no placebo.

Karger ‘Forschender Komplementarmedezin’ Research in Complementary Medicine’:  Vol 12 No 5 2005

This study replicates the findings of a previous study on the growth of wheat seedlings that have been stressed by exposure to arsenic trioxide.  The wheat seedlings were treated with various potentised ultradilutions of arsenic trioxide, various potentised ultradilutions of water or various dilutions of arsenic trioxide (non-potentised).  Significant increases in growth were indicated in the groups treated with arsenic trioxide to the potency 45x and with water 45x.  Plants are not subject to the placebo effect. 

It is interesting that effects were noticed at the 45X potency, this is not a potency commonly used to treat people.  The X scale of potency is less commonly used in the UK but may have been used in this experiment as it is much quicker to generate potency scale increases in the scale of 1:10 rather than 1:100 (the C potency scale).  It is really interesting that simliar results were found for H20 45X which causes me to wonder whether the substance is key or the potency. Update: or whether this is an entanglement effect.


Plant-based bioassays are suitable for basic research – lacking the placebo effect and ensuring large data samples for structured statistical analyses.

The aim of the study was to reproduce a previous experiment on the effects of arsenic trioxide (As2O3) high dilutions on wheat seedling growth in order to verify whether the same significant results could be obtained working in a different place and with a different experimental team. A further goal was to investigate high dilution effects on variability.

 A structured experiment was performed blind over 9 weeks, using wheat seeds previously stressed with a sublethal dose of As2O3. The seeds were then treated with either potentized As2O3 (5x, 15x, 25x, 35x, 45x), potentized water (equivalent potencies) or diluted As2O3 (10-5, 10-15, 10-25, 10-35, 10-45).

The working variable was the stem length, measured after 4, 5, 6 and 7 days.

Results: Some potencies (As2O3 45x and H2O 45x) induced a relevant increase in seedling growth and/or a variability decrease. Diluted As2O3 did not induce any significant results.

Conclusions: Confirmation of a significant stimulating effect on seedling growth and a significant decrease of variability was obtained with ultra-high dilutions at the 45x potency. The model of wheat germination and growth has been confirmed to be a good tool for basic research in homeopathy.”

10 December 2007

Growing acceptance of Homeopathy – under threat in UK

Homeopathy is gaining acceptance in large economies such as India and France.  Unfortunately a small group of skeptic scientists  are impeding its use in Britain by a concerted propaganda campaign against NHS homeopathic hospitals, homeopathy and homeopathic professionals.   Is it moral to prevent the UK taxpayer access to a form of medicine that many people find effective worldwide?  Will we all end up having to go abroad for treatment?

Homeo biz to touch $500m: Times of India 10th December 2007

‘Sujata Dutta Sachdeva | TNN

New Delhi: For years, it has grown quietly in the shadows of the pharma industry, settling for second place to allopathy. But now things are changing fast. Finally, the Indian homeopathy industry is coming out on its own. Estimated to be worth Rs 1,250 crore, the industry is now growing at 25-30% and by 2010, it’s expected to touch Rs 2,600 crore. In fact, more and more people are turning to homeopathy as a first line of treatment, especially for chronic ailments. That’s because it has effective remedies for many diseases now. Perhaps this explains the sudden mushrooming of practitioners in every corner of urban India. Realising its importance, many hospitals too have started enlisting homeopaths in their panel of doctors.
   Interestingly, not only India, the homeopathy industry has seen exceptional growth across the globe. The size of the global industry has gone beyond Rs 135 billion and it’s growing at around 25% per annum. At Rs 45 billion, France has the largest homeopathy industry in the world. This was revealed by a study done by Assocham. ‘

9 December 2007

Skeptics critical of homeopathy/alt med are not interested in your health…

they are only interested if something is scientific or not.

 You can tell by the tags they use in their blogs, the tag ‘health’ never appears.  So their criticisms of homeopathy or other alternative medicine, and of the ‘deluded’ people who use them do not appear to those of us who are interested in their own health and the health of others and use the tag ‘health’.  They feed off each other and egg each other on in their own scientific beliefs.


Ben Goldacre: http://badscience.net/


 David Colquhoun: http://dcscience.net/

Have a look see how much they know about science and how much they know about health.  Your health.

Update 2nd Jan 2008: my suspicions about Goldacre confirmed: Goldacre’s conflicts of interest exposed

5 December 2007

Ineffective medications call the double blind placebo controlled clinical trial into question

Freetochoosehealth weblog : Conventional medicines ineffective for sinus infections

So our suspicions may be correct about prescription medicines being ineffective.  But surely these medications have been subject to double blind placebo controlled trials for effectiveness before being released to the public?  Does this mean that these trials are not a good indicator of how drugs will perform out of the laboratory?   How much are people paying out for these ineffective treatments?

And how on earth do doctors decide what is an effective treatment with conflicting trial data?

4 December 2007

Concerted campaign against homeopathy by skeptic individuals – confirmed

We homeopaths are not ‘deluded’ or ‘paranoid’ about the recent activism against homeopathy.

James Randi forum: Individual activism against homeopathy


 ‘Acting alone is very hard work. I managed to pull together a small group of people who have made concrete progress in reducing UK public spending on homeopathy, but it helped a lot that these were prominent scientists and physicians. Small groups have disproportionately increased power – the homeopaths think we are a huge and wealthy organisation!’

Not any more

How come a small group of self-appointed prejudiced individuals can drive health policy in the UK?

Skeptic insults to homeopaths – daily count – December 4th 2007

‘nitwit’ :  1
‘religious shit’: 1

 Homeopathy is in the Bible. (freetochoosehealth blog)

Scienceup: ‘This religious shit is for nitwits like you. Just show us some scientific proof and stop the religious mumbo jumbo.’

This manages to insult both homeopaths and religions.

But on the whole a fairly pleasant day’s postings. 

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