Author: Jan Scholten
Editorial July & August 2008
by Jan Scholten
Beginning of June there was a discussion on television about alternative medicine. Three professors of regular medicine were denying any possibility of homeopathy having an effect. All positive effects in patients were labeled as variability in symptoms or placebo.
I am always wondering how they can do that. Although I must admit that homeopathy is strange and when I first encountered the potentizing process I was wondering in a similar way "How can that have any effect". But seeing results is convincing. Of course there are many patients where the results could just as well be placebo, but there are also very many results were there is no doubt that the remedies have effect. A first situation often put forward is that of animals. Another situation is patients doing provings and thereby producing very peculiar symptoms of the remedy without knowing the symptoms, not even the prescribed remedy. And very convincing, are patients that are cured of "incurable" diseases.
Recently I had a patient that was cured of Hashimoto's. The specialist had said to the patient that such a disease is incurable and never disappears; so she "had to" have a surgical removing of the thyroid or a treatment with radioactive iodine to destroy the thyroid. When she was cured she confronted the specialist with his "predictions". He then said that in some very rare cases there is spontaneous cure, but that she should not think at all that homeopathy had anything to do with it.
This is what we often see in homeopathy. Specialists often deny the effect saying that it is just placebo effect. Or they deny that the disease has been there, that they made a false diagnosis. As a joke, one could call a homeopath "a specialist in spontaneous healing" or "a specialist in placebo cure". It is better said to call a homeopath "a specialist in self healing".
Coming back to the television program, the professors of course denied any effect. A patient with Crohn's disease for 10 years for the first time had no complaints and felt very well. They called it just placebo and if he would have been selected out of 100 patients that would not have been very strange to say but he was selected just for the program and 1 of 2 patients treated. I would have started to wonder "how can this be, this is very abnormal".
I can understand their problem when one looks from a materialism paradigm, but very strange is their denial of the meta-analysis of homeopathy. There have been about 8 meta-analysis of homeopathy and they all showed that homeopathy cannot be placebo; homeopathy is effective. How can they deny that? Meta-analysis are their own standard. It shows that many double blind studies (RCT, randomized clinical trials) were effective. So the effect cannot be placebo and they still deny homeopathy. This is a major scientific failure. This is denying experimental facts on theoretical grounds. It is like the scientists, the colleagues of Galileo not wanting to look through the telescope to Jupiter because Jupiter cannot have moons.
This shows there is something far deeper going on. It is not rational anymore, but belief. It is a real paradigm problem. The materialism paradigm hinders clear looking and thinking and it explains the fanaticism that goes with it. It is a religious fanaticism.
Keywords: editorial, meta-analyses, paradigm problem