The final tranche of Louise Mclean’s “Facts about Homeopathy” discusses the ‘popularity’ of homeopathy. As I have said previously, scientific reality is not determined by voting – and even if it were, homeopathy would be trumped by evidence based medicine, known to homeopaths as ‘allopathy’.
In Fact 44 she claims that homeopathy has grown in popularity over the last 30 years and “estimated to be growing at more than 20% a year” globally. She does not say from where she gets this data which in any case is somewhat contradicted by Fact 49 where we learn that fewer than a quarter of Europeans, for example, even trust homeopathy, let alone actually use it.
It is true that homeopathy is being pushed into Africa where the likes of the Maun Homeopathy Project and Jeremy Sherr try to convince Botswanans and Tanzanians respectively that sugar pills will cure AIDS. Part of their success in pushing homeopathy has something to do with the fact that their approach and manner resembles that of evidence based medicine (EBM) practitioners and the fact that most of their patients are unaware as to what homeopathy actually is.
This ignorance as to the true nature of homeopathy is hardly confined to Africans of course. Most Europeans seem to think it is a form of herbal medicine. I saw anexample of this as recently as this morning on GMTV when hay fever was being discussed. First the use of pharmaceutical treatments was mentioned, then the presenter said “and then there are homeopathic remedies” and started banging on about using organic honey. Apart from the fact that there was no mention of evidence that honey would be of any use, pure honey is not homeopathy on the grounds that honey does not cause hay fever symptoms and therefore according to the sacred text (The Organon) it is not a remedy for it and it has not been diluted and succused out of existance.
In Fact 45 we are informed that hundreds of famous people have used homeopathy. She does not tell us who they are and even if she did I would have my doubts as to veracity. Homeopaths are fond of claiming that Charles Darwin used homeopathy even though there is not a shred of evidence that this is the case. Quite aside from the fact that even if it were true, the eficacy of a treatment is not determined by the fame of the person using it. A lot of historical figures used blood-letting too.
In Facts 45 and 46 she tells us how fond the aristocracy and royalty are of homeopathy. The fact that it finds favour with a bunch of inbred descendants of thieving Norman thugs is hardly evidence one way or the other.
In Fact 48 we are told that homeopathy is practiced in countries all over the world. Widespread use of something is not proof it is a good idea. For example, torture is used by security services in countries all over the world. Would she like Special Branch to use it? Thought not.
In Fact 50 she claims that the media as a whole is unwilling to defend homeopathy. She obviously has not seen the numerous articles in Daily Mail health columns or the “Ask Emma” homeopathy infomercials that used to appear in the Guardian Weekend until the readership repeatedly asked Emma to fuck off or the puff pieces in “women’s” magazines et cetera.
This whole section seems to have abandoned any pretence to supply evidence as to the eficacy of homeopathy and instead implies that if we use it we will be joining some kind of in-crowd of the rich, famous and aristocratic. Not so much scraping the bottom of the barrel as dug right through it.