Jan 26, 2011

Health and politics

I've written about homeopathy before and it's no surprise that I think it's quackery on the level of snake oil. Now when I speak about the practice I mean the classical version of diluting medicine in water to the point where the active ingredient can't be tested present by any scientific method. Some confuse homeopathy with naturopathy, which are completely different. Why homeopathy has been given such a broad definition in today's world is anyone's guess.

CBC's Marketplace ran a special about homeopathy which was quite interesting. They asked homeopathic practitioners and patients about the effectiveness of the remedies who all praised the medicines as a great and inexpensive alternative to western methods. Of course the journalists asked seasoned doctors about the drugs, even going so far as to test the active ingredient in the solutions. As to be expected the findings were nothing other than water.

There was little to be shocked about concerning the report, except the fact that the Canadian health care system supports homeopathy with tax payer dollars. I don't live under a government run health care system, but if I did I would be furious. If someone wants to practice homeopathy so be it, as long as it's on their own dime. The government should not be in the business of supporting remedies that have no more effectiveness than a placebo.

What I learned more from the broadcast is actually the comments on Marketplace's main page. Many were crying foul at the study calling it biased and irresponsible journalism. Most of them were praising homeopathy with anecdotal information and denouncing science in similar fashion to the Vatican shunning Galileo. They did so with almost a religious zeal, because they knew the products they were consuming could not be proven effective, but they wanted to believe so bad that their headaches were cured by drinking water. It reminded me of the anti-vaccine movement. Should I feel bad about writing this, because in a way it feels like attacking someone's faith?

I don't look down on people who employ homeopathy in their daily lives. It would be like blaming the victim of a violent crime. They're being scammed. Still Marketplace interviewed a mother who chose not to give her child a traditional vaccine and instead gave him a homeopathic remedy to fend off measles and the like. That's just dangerous.

I have one question for people who do believe water has memory, would you take a homeopathic form of birth control? Actually if diluting a small amount of ingredients into water is effective than I should be able to place a drop of gasoline into a five gallon drum of H2O and shake it up a thousand times. I could then pour it into my car's gas tank and expect it to run as normal. Would you do that as an experiment?

So I ask this of my Canadian readers, do you feel it's okay that the government supports homeopathy? If so why?

"I do not expect that homeopathy will ever be established as a legitimate form of treatment, but I do expect that it will continue to be popular." - James Randi

1 comment:

wigsf3 said...

Let me tell you something about Canada. We're fucking stupid. Never trust a damn thing we say or do because, again, we're stupid.