Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Homeopath = Liar

"To be a homeopathist, you have to be a dualist, a vitalist, and know about enough chemistry to make you dangerous. You also have to have approximately zero idea of how the scientific method actually works, doesn't hurt if you're a bit of a hippy-dippy syncrete, either.

You also have to be the type I refer to as a "fixer," which is generally someone who's suffused with the desire to help people (at all costs) and not enough brains, skills, or basic competence to do it very well. These types tend to become social workers, counsellors, and/or things like homeopathists, aromatherapists, or other woo-meisters. Key to pulling this one off is to be convincing (mostly because you believe it yourself) and have a pleasant demeanour (at least at first)."
- Interrobang's comment about homeopaths on Orac's Respectful Insolence blog.

"I know what you are trying to say here but for me it seems to let the practitioners of the hook to much. Many very probably do sincerely believe that what they doing is backed by evidence, and that they do indeed want to help others. The only problem is that they have no basis for holding that view. The only way they could have arrived at such a view is by a willful disregarding of how science, and medicine, works, and as such honesty is not something they can make much claim to. It is much like the situation with creationists. Creationism is not an honest position, and no one (with the exception I think of the mentally ill or mentally retarded) can hold a creationist position and make claim to be honest. There is a duty on people taking a position to understand the position they are taking. In the case of both homeopaths, and creationists, they cannot do so without ignoring masses of evidence."
- Matt Penfold's comment on the same subject.

"Homeopaths not outright liars? If not outright, they are liars nonetheless - outright deceivers in any case.

They defend themselves with the usual "pseudo-scientist" argument: If you can't prove something is impossible, then it's theoretically possible, and therefor if we posit that it's true, you can't say by your own logic that we're wrong.

That's all many who want to believe something need to give themselves permission to believe it. So the problem or question to tackle first would seem to be, why do their adherents want to believe the barely believable and how much do they want it?

And the countermeasures should involve less of a discussion of the logic of homeopathic suppositions than of the deceit involved in whatever efforts were applied that caused adherents to hope for an ultimately ridiculous prospect to begin with.

It is our nature to expect to be deceived, but we want to feel complicit in the deception - it must be of the type that reinforces our expectations. We didn't agree in advance to deception that only bolsters the deceiver's expectations."
- Royniles, adding one more comment.


  1. As one of the people named in this post, a social worker, I welcome the criticism of our profession. If you engage in such services, back up your skepticism with the kinds of questions that are going to create accountability in your relationship. No one is stopping you from using your brain when you are spending money on something.

    What amazes me as a therapist is the number of people who want to continue to pay me money for services that are not benefiting them. They say it is not helping, yet they want to pay. Let me repeat that , they say it is not helping, yet they want to continue to pay me. How do you define insanity - doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
    I won't cooperate with this - but can you see how tempting it would be to a therapist with low ethical standards or just having trouble paying the bills?