Homeopathy is more of a religion than science; in the aftermath of the recent statement by Professor Ernst, I found myself in a couple of discussions about Homeopathy. Here is what I think:
Let me state first that I am on neither side of that dispute: I do not believe any of the “water has a memory” crap (because if it did, it would be full of sh*t, quite literally; luckily it doesn’t); but neither do I feel that urge to crucify any homeopath in sight that many collegues express.
My reasoning is as follows: Homeopathy has been proven to be “no better than placebo” – while at the same time, placebos have been proven to have very remarkable effects, some serious studies going as far as saying that 50% of any painkiller’s effect is placebo. Therefore I believe that homeopathy can have its place in medicine – as a placebo. If a patient wishes to believe it’s the water molecules’ memory instead of his own subconscience that makes him feel better, so be it. And if some catholic physicians think they can “cure” homosexuality with homeopathy, so be it – homosexuality is not an illness and homeopathy is not a cure, so the shoe fits.
What must be publicly condemned, one the other hand, are the actions of a variety of groups, calling themselves “Homeopaths without Borders”, in Sierra Leone: experimenting on the local population by attempting to cure Malaria with Homeopathy is outrageous! Malaria is a serious and potentially fatal disease caused by a very real plasmodium, so treatment requires real medicine (not like there isn’t any). Distributing sugar globes and whacky stories keeps the population from seeking treatment and thus is manslaughter at best. Not to mention that the population there has other problems as well – like the lack of a clean water supply and plumbing. Which brings us back to homeopathy being quite literally full of it…