I haven’t written anything on homeopathy for a while, because, well, it’s a dull subject. It’s difficult to keep the reader’s attention with it because anyone who has read one good debunking already knows it’s absurd, and anyone who is in denial has already slammed down the steel doors of non-perception. But as someone recently responded to an article on the topic, I will feature the comment here, in a post all of its own.
The commenter clearly doesn’t understand what criticism is or how it works, and therefore doesn’t know how to do it effectively, so I will offer a few tips.
But first, the comment:
elainelewis June 30, 2013
Why is the author so monumentally obsessed with homeopathy? Everything you accuse homeopathy of is actually the case with the people you support–orthodox medicine–which is VERY dangerous, and don’t take my word for it, just listen to their ads! “This medicine can cause serious infections which may lead to death….” UNBELIEVABLE!!! If this isn’t the pot calling the kettle black, I don’t know what is! You “skeptics” ought to just lie low and hope no one notices how truly dangerous “scientific” medicine really is!
The first thing to be noted here of course is that this is not a defense of homeopathy. Many readers no doubt will already suspect that the comment didn’t address any of the points raised in the original post either.
The original post was about the US National Center for Homeopathy producing a promotional video that in fact failed to support homeopathy, and preferred instead to attack mainstream medicine. This commenter has simply repeated the same tactic in the comments, rather than deal with the criticism.
Judging by repeated experience, this is because —
homeopaths don’t understand how criticism works.
They don’t know how to respond to it, and they don’t know how to do it either. They can imitate such behavior, but the how and the why is clearly shrouded in mystery for them. It’s almost as if their entire critical faculties have been switched off. (Ha ha.)
So let me spell out some of the elements of successful criticism for @elainelewis and all the others…..
Criticism is essential for growth. It is a positive thing which involves improvement. When it is not done properly, there is no way of telling whether one thing is better than another. I notice that you, Ms Elaine Lewis, couldn’t really manage to argue that homeopathy is better than mainstream medicine. You only got as far as implying that it may be equally dangerous, and had no idea how to go about making a case that homeopathy is better. You were limited by your multifaceted ignorance to simply shouting the conclusions you desired.
Criticism also involves asking questions about the subject being criticized, and trying to answer them. You should have first asked yourself the question “How dangerous is mainstream medicine?” and then tried to find an answer. Instead you simply invented the answer you wanted without checking it out, and vaguely asserted it. This makes your criticism weak, and worse (for you) it demonstrates your ignorance. Had you looked, you would have discovered that there is an answer — a multitude of highly specific answers in fact — to that question. By not asking yourself that question first, you were in no position to make a critical statement about it. But you failed to recognize that too, and wound up exposing yourself to the embarrassment of having your position publicly demolished.
You probably don’t feel embarrassed right now though, and probably never feel embarrassed when this happens to you, because you don’t even realize what has happened — because you don’t know how criticism works. Your thorough-going and carefully maintained ignorance has anesthetized you to it.