Classical Stupidity from the National Center for Homeopathy

January 19, 2011

In the wake of the latest devastating exposé on homeopathy (on Canadian television, {Part 1,} {Part 2}), I thought I’d take a bit of time to respond to the pathetic propaganda campaign homeopaths are waging.

One might expect homeopaths to at least be reigning in the most dangerous and stupid of their dangerous and stupid claims; and making at least some semblance of an attempt at relating their various claims to specific studies; and acknowledging that there is good reason to be skeptical, given the lack of evidence and plausibility for their claims.

But they’re not doing that.

Instead, they are increasing their slanderous attacks on the medical profession in general, claiming skeptics are funded by Big Pharma, and trying to incite the public to defend them.

Personally, I am not funded by Big Pharma (ha ha), and they would have no motivation to fund anyone else either. And actually, that’s a pity, because they would be selflessly doing the world a great favor if they did.

The reason people like me (and I’m not even a doctor) donate their spare time to exposing this appalling and stupid scam is because we feel enough people have died, enough people have been conned, and enough damage has been done to public understanding of basic science and physiology.

And some of us simply don’t like being lied to.

As will be shown below, homeopathic propaganda is so crude in its methods and so vacuous in its content, that it’s a pure insult to people’s intelligence. They are banking on hitting the right emotional nerves and prejudices, rather than attempting to mount a coherent defense of their profession.

This is because there is no coherent defense for their profession. Their entire PR campaign is based on avoiding the issues, and trying to stop the public from even beginning to consider them. Attack is the best form of defense, especially when you don’t have any defense at all, as we shall see…

Here, (link to Youtube), is a promotional video produced by the American National Center for Homeopathy. It’s also featured on the new campaigning site, Extraordinary Medicine as a “good introduction”.

The video goes for 5 minutes. That’s not long, but should be sufficient time to present a brief overview of the fundamentals of homeopathy.

Here are the five basic points we would expect them to cover:

  • law of similars
  • the principle of dilution
  • their specific conception of human physiology and healing
  • some of the research, acknowledging the criticisms; and
  • explain in which circumstances someone might responsibly choose to try it out (i.e. for non-serious illnesses, or in accompaniment with proper medical treatment).

At least, that’s what would be expected if they legitimately wanted the public to take an informed and responsible attitude to their profession. Do they want that? Let’s see what they come up with…..

The title of the video:

Just Good Medicine

So they claim it is medicine. No hedging the issue and calling it “remedies” or “treatments”. As we’ll see, the “just good” part of it also has implications – this is not “bad medicine” like those nasty doctors give you.

Homeopathy works by…

….approaching the patient using very minute substances, of substances (sic) found in nature, and triggering a healing response within the patient in response to that substance….so the remedy triggers your body to heal itself.

No beating about the bush there either. Those are specific and concrete claims for which there needs to be some clear physiological explanations, backed up by research and studies. Claims like that are easy to test. Have they done the necessary tests? They don’t say.

Unlike taking, say, prescription drugs or even herbal medicine or supplements, which tend to effect change because those substances change you…

Er, come again? Medicine “changes you” in some negative sense??? Ok, maybe they mean strong doses of psychotropic drugs or 1950s style shock treatment. (Or Soviet Union style deprogramming drugs???) Whatever is meant, they’re not going to explain it any more than that.

…a homeopathic remedy in and of itself is an inert substance.

What? If it’s an inert substance, how can it “trigger your body to heal itself”? That’s a central issue, so there must be some fascinating studies to illustrate how that works….Or not. Ok, not.

So over time you get to stop taking the remedy and retain the healing benefits.

So you take the remedy and your body heals itself and stays healed. Again – that’s a straight forward claim that would show up compellingly in a straight forward study. Where are these studies?

Studies? Who needs studies when you can invent hypothetical examples.

Unlike let’s say, in regular medicine, where if you let’s say, stop taking your high blood pressure medication at a certain point you can be sure your blood pressure is going to go up, because there’s not actually any real healing that has happened. With homeopathy you can expect your body to actually heal.

That would be a very straight forward study to undertake. Two groups with high blood pressure, one takes their normal meds, the other, homeopathic “medicine”. And the results would show clearly that the homeopathic group experienced lowered blood pressure not just during the treatment, but for a long period after the treatment, because they had been “healed”.

Again – and as always – where is the study on which that claim is based? Imagine if the medical profession pulled stunts like this.

Next up:

How it Works

Here they need to explain exactly how the minute substance triggers the body’s self healing and they’ve only got a couple of minutes left.

The thing is that most recent material science research from laboratories throughout the world is beginning to show that there is something going on in a homeopathic remedy that is unique and is not dependent on the presence of molecules continuing to be there. It may very well be dependent on the original presence of the molecules, the information that those molecules provide.

Huh? Where did that come from. All they mentioned in the first part was “minute substances”. Now they break the news that the substance is so minute that it’s not even there.

Ok, how does this “substance”, which is not even there, trigger the body’s self healing?

“It appears to be that succussion [shaking] is the critical factor in making a homeopathic remedy active, whether or not here are source molecules left.

Uhuh, they’re not going to tell us how it works. And why, exactly, does it “appear” to be so? Of course, they don’t say that either.

What is going on here? Instead of answering the obvious question, we get vague and completely irrelevant speculations about some mysterious thingy which is “starting to be seen” (whatever that is supposed to mean) in scientific laboratories, and speculation that shaking it may or may not have something to do with this mysterious whatever-it-is that somehow “triggers” (whatever that means) the body’s supposedly all-powerful self healing.

And that’s it. Not even any attempt to explain how it works.

And straight on to the next part:

Why do We Need it

We are incredibly sick as a nation. Maybe at no time in the history of mankind have people been so sick.

That is an extremely stupid statement.

I mean look at children…

At this point, this ignoramus starts blithering on about asthma inhalers and peanut allergies, as if kids had it better during the black plague.

Several friends of mine who are a generation older than me suffered from polio. No one I’ve ever met or even heard of my age did, but the polio-free generation is worse off?

And this is all in one generation. Possibly conventional medicine is not helping this situation. Because the population, for all the drugs they’re taking, are not any healthier than fifty years ago, in fact they’re much sicker.

That’s a pretty big call. What have they got to back it up with? Certainly not any evidence derived from reality.

Conventional medicine doesn’t treat the cause of the problem. They just treat the symptoms.

The next shot in their scatter-gun attack. And what does that actually mean? Surgically enlarging a constricted artery in the heart, for example, seems to me to be treating the cause. And if you mean the cause was stress, then psychotherapy is also part of conventional medicine, as would be dietary changes, exercise and relaxation classes. In contrast, homeopathy seems rather one dimensional.

And their five minutes is nearly up, and they haven’t event mentioned the law of similars, and only hinted that the substances are highly diluted. They’ve spent far more time on unsubstantiated attacks on mainstream medicine than they have on promoting their own product. Could it be that they actually don’t want people to know too much about it, and would rather operate in the gray realms of ideology and emotional trigger words?

And then, instead of a summing up statement on homeopathy, they launch into yet another attack:

The pharmaceutical industry would have a lot to lose if homeopathy were to become mainstream…

That is absurd. If it worked, homeopaths would find themselves either being bought out, or more likely, the chemistry and physiology behind it would be studied and Big Pharma would find more efficient ways of producing it. The reason they are not doing that is because they have read the studies and decided not to waste their money or risk fraud and manslaughter charges.

…because homeopathic remedies are cheap.

Ok, a homeopathic “remedy” for cold called Oscillococcinum uses a dilution of duck’s liver. Because of the absurd extent to which it is diluted, only one duck per year is needed to manufacture a product which had total sales of $20 million in 1996. (Link)

Yeh, cheap. But not for the consumers.

And if we actually started healing people and they didn’t need to be on drugs for the rest of their lives, there’s a lot of big business that would be very upset about that.

Again, here’s this claim that homeopathy heals permanently. Yet the most “positive” of the studies only show results a shade over the placebo effect and are explicitly inconclusive. Even an insanely exaggerated positive interpretation of these results would only get them to a “might work, needs more research”. Why on earth do they expect to get away with claiming it heals permanently? Yet anyone who points that out to them is in the pay of Big Pharma, who is terrified that this miracle cure might become better known.

In fact, most of what skeptics do is point out the facts about homeopathy, and then laugh or fume about it, depending on the body count.

And the best homeopaths can do is respond with this kind of pathetic, badly produced slandering of the medical profession. This isn’t just a bunch of homeopaths sitting around in the pub grizzling about things.

This is the National Homeopathic Center’s idea of a professional presentation for the public, of the most important aspects of homeopathy.

And it’s just a bunch of hot air which has nothing at all to do with homeopathy itself. They continue:

The medical system is kind of an old boys club and they’re not very open to new approaches. This has to be a grassroots effort. It has to be the public that demands change because the public is fed up with being prescribed drugs and being sick.

They don’t seem to have noticed that medical science has in fact progressed during the last two hundred years. And this is exactly because it is open to new ideas.

The guys who discovered the faulty dystrophin gene which causes muscular dystrophy, for example, achieved that already in the late 1980s not because they were closed to new ideas and just lucked out somehow, but because they were profoundly dedicated to their work and inspired by the realistic hope that children they will never meet, might one day be spared from a tragic disabling condition.

That’s just one example, but I invite any reader who disagrees with me to google medical treatments for any serious illness and compare the improvement over the last 200 years, and then google “homeopathy +” that illness.

Culpable ignorance and shameless scamming.


  1. I have used homeopathic remedies for over 25 years, it has cured and helped 95% of my illnesses. I have not used conventional medicine since I started. It is very sad, this article is very biased and very incorrect. I encourage people to please seek out and meet individuals or families that have used it. You can not really know until you have experienced something.

  2. Kimberly, I find it rather strange that you leave a comment like that here. You did not address any of the points I raised in the post.

    Instead you repeated some of the extremely stupid and ignorant mistakes that the National Center for Homeopathy made. This serves my purposes excellently, for demonstrating that homeopaths and fans have nothing but unsubstantiated and stupid assertions to show, after 200 years of attempts. So thanks for demonstrating that fans are just ignorant and irresponsible as the NCH.

    Should you decide to comment here again, please address the topic.

    And don’t tell me to seek out families and individuals who have used it. I would try and seek a person I used to know who was assured by her homeopath that would protect her from malaria, but I can’t because she is dead. She died from malaria.

  3. @Kimberly Woods,
    Okay, maybe that’s slightly unfair of me. The baseless assertions that you shared in your comment would have sounded better if they were backed up by some substantial argumentation from the NCH. But unfortunately for you, the NHC did an even worse job than you did.

  4. 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!

  5. There are more people alive now than ever before, they live longer on average than ever before, a much higher percentage of babies survive to adulthood now than ever before. Polio, smallpox, bubonic plague and others have been eradicated. Cholera, typhoid, yellow fever, tuberculosis, leprosy, elephantiasis, malaria and others are much less prevalent than before. None of that is due to homeopathy.
    Cancer is up, obesity is up, mental illness is up (I think, & maybe homeopathy is a symptom or by-product of mental illness in some people, not all people).

    There are new dangerous and harmful strains of micro-organisms – varieties of golden staph – now living in hospitals that were not around fifty years ago – these have evolved into existence in response to new pharmaceuticals, and not in response to homeopathy. Big Pharma was the catalyst, although Big Pharma is not strictly to blame. I don´t think Big Pharma or homeopathy are connected at all to the outbreak of AIDS.

    Both Big Pharma and homeopathy have a financial motive, as well as a philanthropic motive. Both Big Pharma and homeopaths will try to protect or enhance their profitability, in both cases they will do so at the expense of the patient or client. In the case of Big Pharma they sometimes protect their patents at the cost of public health (by denying cheaper generic pharmaceuticals to poorer patients).

    If readers re-view the Youtube link, there are more & more interesting comments online, increasing regularly. With regards to some of the content of the youtube presentation – I personally know an 80 year old woman (Sheila P, aka Shirley) who has been peanut allergic all her life, so from that I infer the woman giving the talk on Youtube is wrong & ignorant to claim that peanut allergies have only appeared in the last generation. The presenter may not know any such people, but the evident ignorance of one informant is no argument that such cases have not existed before her lifespan.

    I am not an adherent of conventional medicine. I do not in general get sick. I am not a member of the free Australian public health care scheme, nor any other, although I am a shareholder in some corporations in the health realm. My primary axe that I grind is subversive.

    I have never taken homeopathic medicine, and I am still alive. I assume their products are harmless and useless. They could make good placebos. Perhaps there is a market out there for a new healthcare line of substances, Placebo A through Placebo Z in a variety of coloured tablets like Smarties for 1 cent a tablet, grains of rice coloured with vegetable dye, from Dr Feelgood.

  6. @elainelewis,

    You have failed to address any of the two dozen or so criticisms which form the substance of the post. Instead, you simply repeated the very points that the NCH made and which — as you failed to notice — were demolished by me in the post.

    I have given your comment a post of its own, along with a few lessons for you on how to criticize something.

    Here is the link

    Should you wish to comment further, either here or there, please address the topic. No more off topic — obsessive — rants like that one please.

  7. –Comment deleted due to irrelevance & repetition.
    -Site owner–

Comments welcome, but please try to address the issues raised in the article!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: