British Medical Association: homeopathy is witchcraft

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
May 17 2010 7:00 AM

British Medical Association: homeopathy is witchcraft

Oh, how I loves me an alt-med smackdown: at a meeting of the British Medical Association's junior doctors, Dr. Tom Dolphin, deputy chairman, said:

Homeopathy is witchcraft. It is a disgrace that nestling between the National Hospital for Neurology and Great Ormond Street [in London] there is a National Hospital for Homeopathy which is paid for by the NHS [National Health Service].

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Advertisement

Ha! I couldn't have said it better myself. Despite what homeopaths say, homeopathy has been shown beyond any reasonable doubt to have no effect above that of a placebo. That won't stop homeopaths from still claiming it works; they'll use anecdotes, they'll use evidence distorted and twisted into a Möbius strip, or they'll simply make stuff up. At best, belief in provably false things like homeopathy is a colossal waste of money, and at worst belief in homeopathy can kill you. That's why skeptics are fighting the practice of homeopathy all over the world, from the UK to Australia.

And before you say, "Well, it's just water so it does no harm, right?" I'll remind you that people are then drinking plain old water instead of taking real medicine. That's the real danger of homeopathy (and other alt-med nonsense). So unless the health problem you're having is dehydration, taking homeopathic "remedies" does in fact do quite a bit of harm.

And that's why I'm so happy that doctors and the government in the UK are being vocal about this nonsense. Sure, caveat emptor and all that, but when people -- especially people with the veneer of a medical imprimatur -- are pushing something we know doesn't work to people who are sick or worried over a sick loved one, then it's time to step in and do something.

Tip o' the vial of plain old water to Digg.

Waterglass image from albertopveiga's Flickr photostream, used under the Creative Commons license.

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

Here’s Just How Far a Southern Woman May Have to Drive to Get an Abortion

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Behold

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 20 2014 1:50 PM Why We Shouldn’t be Too Sure About the Supposed Deal to Return the Abducted Nigerian Schoolgirls
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 12:37 PM The Fed Will Probably Stop Injecting Huge Sums of Money Into the Economy This Month
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Oct. 20 2014 1:43 PM Chouara: A Striking 11th-Century Tannery in Morocco
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 1:26 PM This $248 Denim Jumpsuit Is the Latest Example of a Horrible Fashion Tradition
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 1:51 PM Will Amazon Lead Us to the Golden Age of Books? A Future Tense Event.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 10:23 AM Where I Was Wrong About the Royals I underestimated the value of building a team that’s just barely better than mediocre.