Thursday, 28 April 2011

The Homoeopathy Dilemma

The 1023 campaign has tried to highlight to the general public that homoeopathy didn't work, the idea was to demonstrate that there was nothing in it. If you ask non-homoeopaths about homoeopathy, many people will say it's a form of herbal medicine. It would be fair to say that many are unaware of what homoeopathy is, let alone how it is meant to work.

Yet professional homoeopaths are aware that there's nothing in it. After all, it's not the material that matters but the vibrations of the material that stem from the process. So what good does it do to point out something that is not claimed to be there in the first place?

And therein lies the dilemma. Since many people think that homoeopathy is a form of herbal medicine, should it be attacked as such? If it's attacked on grounds that it's understood, homoeopaths have every right to say that what is being attacked is not homoeopathy. But what good is it to go after the "true" homoeopathy if people have a misconception of what homoeopathy is?

This applies to more than homoeopathy, of course, as there's plenty out there where the general perception differs from the "academic" one. What good does it to show an internal contradiction in a particular theodicy, for example, when such musings have no bearing of the beliefs of millions?

Perhaps an argument from completeness might be justification. That is, if someone who supports homoeopathy is under the false impression that homoeopathy is herbal medicine, then they could always fall back on homoeopathy working for them even if theirs no active ingredient. Or that one could perhaps find a theologian who can justify a global flood even if they can't themselves.

The great thing about the 1023 campaign is that I think it transcended specifics by simply showing that homoeopathy doesn't work. Taking an "overdose" of "sleeping pills" and not only being perfectly fine but not sleepy at all demonstrates that no matter what people say homoeopathy is, it doesn't live up to the claims made of it.

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