Not the Ducks! – Rosemary Goring Forgets Science

It is nice to be proud of the achievements of people who are the same as you. If an atheists wins something we are happy. If an Indian wins something we are happy. If a Brit wins something we are happy.

But WINNING something isn’t the same as supporting something solely because it is local.

(Prince Charles) His latest crime has been to urge Westminster Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to consider offering homeopathic remedies and treatments on the NHS. Since the Prince’s conversations and letters are protected from freedom of information requests, and unavailable for public view, his critics are up in arms, ?without knowing precisely what he has said.

No. The very fact he has asked that we consider “goddamn wizardry” on the NHS is an effective reason to mock his idiocy. If he had said that we utilise the time honoured method of entrail soothsaying to cut down on our MRI costs we would not require the exact wording of his message to consider Prince Charles to be a fucking imbecile (I apologise your “majesty” but if you do read this you are indeed a fucking imbecile for your repeated attempts to flog bullshit as medicine that will harm our already crippled health system). You can swan around waving at people, leave doctors to do their healing. We don’t tell you how to wave at foreign dignitaries and you don’t tell us how to treat.

From the tone of the debate, it’s not always easy to diagnose whether his detractors are more concerned about secret interference with government, or by the idea that a widely discredited alternative branch of medicine might become available free, thereby costing the beleaguered NHS additional millions.

The first is a big worry since they are unelected. The second is probably a more realistic worry since we currently live in an age where we have seen such a proliferation of alternative medicine that our children suffer from more measles than the children of some third world nations while our NHS is off with the fucking fairies and buying bread for 10 times it’s cost. That perhaps indulging in something that categorically does not work is not an ideal solution.

I have sympathy with both points of view, but particularly with anxiety over undue influence of royals with bees in their bonnets. When it comes to homeopathy, however, opinion divides sharply. One understands why. Millions of pounds have been spent in recent years trying to establish whether this pharmaceutical penny-farthing has any medical credibility in the age of the drone. To date, the jury is not simply out, but calling for the death sentence, with senior medics routinely dismissing the field as a sham.

The entire field of homeopathy functions on the notion that like cures like and that atomic doses are more effective which flies in the face of reality. Many solutions flogged are effectively distilled water that’s been smacked against a leather board and homeopathic research is frightfully vague.

There’s nothing new in this. Queen Victoria’s Scottish physician John Forbes called homeopathy “an outrage to human reason”, an opinion endorsed by James Simpson, whose discovery of chloroform certainly casts the benefits of tinctures of poison ivy or marshmallow into the shade.

Except we know how the human body functions while most homeopaths sprout some total nonsense. Dangerous total nonsense.

Yet it was a Scot who first proposed the principles on which homeopathy was based. William Cullen, an 18th-century physician and chemist from Hamilton, wrote a treatise translated 200 years ago by a sceptical German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann. Moved by a spirit of scientific inquiry, Hahnemann put Cullen’s ideas to the test, and bravely chewed the bark of the cinchona tree, which supposedly would cure malaria. He immediately began to suffer symptoms of the disease, as Cullen had predicted. Following that Damascene discovery the convert went on to create an elaborate theory of the benefits of ingesting, in vastly diluted quantities, a range of scary medicinal plants and substances.

Okay. That is not an appropriate reason to fucking support it. Just because the Scots came up with a bad idea doesn’t mean that the Scots should keep following it because it was a Scottish Bad Idea!

Some of the ingredients used were potentially lethal, including belladonna and arsenic. Even so, given the primitive and often fatal methods practised then by bona fide doctors, you can see why homeopathic techniques might have caught on. Less explicable is that today, when medical miracles such as keyhole surgery and lung transplants are commonplace, thousands of homeopaths and their clients continue to swear by Hahnemann’s ideas.

Oh. It’s that old “poison” problem. You see poisons have methods by  which they work. Belladona contains atropine. Atrophy….

It paralyses muscles. Now why would you want that? Your eye drops? Atropine derivatives. Dilates pupils a treat.

The cure for OPC poisoning and many nerve gases(you heard me) is Atropine. Well obviously you  don’t chew berries, we give it to you IV so we can pinpoint the exact point to stop giving you  it and control the dosage to let you survive. If you ate the damn things and overdosed there would be no escape after all. We cannot go find a berry that you already ate and remove it but we can turn off your drip or reduce the drop rate.

There are thousands of people who are fucking idiots. Educated people no less. The people who didn’t vaccinate their kids leading to our measles outbreaks are not stupid and ignorant. They were fooled by a system of very smart people who pretended to be doctors and pretended to flog homeopathy as “medicine”. They dress like us and act like us but without one cardinal rule that doctors have to follow.

Doctors have to explain how their things work and be honest about it. To date out of every single quack who has tried to argue against me, only one could explain how the human immune system worked. And he copied and pasted my work as an explanation and so had no idea that everything he quoted was correct but did not support him. The major reason Homeopaths have gotten away with so much is that they are allowed to bullshit about the efficacy of their stuff. Homeopathy is no more effective than placebo.

If a thousand people say they can see the Emperor’s New Clothes, it doesn’t mean that the Emperor is not Naked.

Now, I wouldn’t pop any pill my GP had not warmly recommended or, preferably, tried on his own children first, but Prince Charles’s cri de coeur still deserves attention. Like it or not, homeopathic medicine sometimes works. The reasons may be circumstantial – the placebo effect, the therapeutic properties of being listened to, or the body’s natural process of healing. But while the preparation may have done nothing itself, those curative elements are an important part of conventional medicine too. The problem is, most of us are impatient, reaching for over-the-counter remedies without a thought for toxicity. The same goes for heavy-duty pills prescribed by doctors. While serious ailments need serious drugs, minor complaints could sometimes be treated in less aggressive, more natural ways.

Yes. So does Sugar Pills.

So you are suggesting we use homeopathy… that we validate an entire bloody field of quackery and bullshit as science just so that we can flog placebos on whingy patients?

I am afraid that is incredibly stupid. It will destroy what we have left of our NHS.

As for toxicity? It’s pretty bloody hard to harm yourself with OTC medications you know. They are formulated to low doses for minor ailments. As for our “heavy duty pills” they work. That’s why they have effects. The bad effects are side effects. The reason homeopathy has no side effects is because it does nothing. It is just water.

This is not a plea for homeopathy to be offered on the NHS, but for the reasons behind its popularity to be explored and harnessed for state use. Could it be, for instance, homeopaths’ clinics are less intimidating, practitioners have more time, or are more reassuring? That their arcane treatments give the body time to sort itself out, instead of being bombarded with industrial chemicals? Whatever the answers, there must be some quantifiable reason why such discredited methods nevertheless work.

Yes. Because it takes less time to flog bullshit than something that can harm a patient. It’s simple. If we took a naive population and we set up a proper homeopathic clinic with me as one quack and your best homeopath as another and I prescribed whatever the hell I wanted and they prescribed to the finest and most cutting edge of homeopathy, I bet you that we would have the same bloody outcomes.

This is purely an argument to validate bullshit.

You know why people like homeopaths? Because doctors DO NOT LIKE PRESCRIBING.

I am sorry you have the flu, you should go home and take some rest. Try Lemsip and some Paracetemol OTC.

The Flu? Oh  take Vitamin C megadoses! You will heal in JUST 7 Days!

So people think Vitamin C actually does something to the flu which is “bloody news to me”.

Yes, Homeopathic methods work at curing diseases that either don’t exist or that heal naturally anyways. It doesn’t matter what you give them as long as you do give them something.

Doctors or ministers who dismiss the value of alternative medicine may be right in purely scientific terms, but wrong in missing their psychological potential. Since the NHS is in no position to take the moral high ground these days, be it on budgets, management or patient care, it surely behoves its panjandrums to listen to what Prince Charles and his ilk are saying. As a homeopath might say, a little of what you don’t fancy can sometimes do you good.

Are you suggesting good madam that we lie to our patients?

This is not an acceptable way to run any healthcare system. We may as well sacrifice goats to release ourselves from the dermal lesions that are indicative of “sin” and validate that as a healthcare choice if we are going to allow untrained, unskilled and unscientific nonsense to parade as real science.


  1. AsqJames says

    This is not a plea for homeopathy to be offered on the NHS, but for the reasons behind its popularity to be explored and harnessed for state use. Could it be, for instance, homeopaths’ clinics are less intimidating, practitioners have more time, or are more reassuring?

    Could it be, perhaps, that homeopaths can spend more money on making their “clinics” warm and inviting places because their “medicines” are effectively free and the profit margin is thus gargantuan?

    Could it be, perhaps, that homeopaths can afford to spend more time listening to patients general chit-chat because they don’t do any actual diagnostic tests?

    Would it, perhaps, be a bit of a bad idea for the state to start learning those tricks and employing them to “treat” people who might actually be sick?

    Am I asking deliberately obtuse rhetorical questions?

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