Homeopathic Research

A discussion about homeopathic research

Most people don’t have the time to wade through scientific papers to decide whether they accept a researcher’s conclusions. instead we get fed news of scientific advances through journalists. The theory is good, employ a science graduate as a journalist, they can read the science & the explain it in lay-mans terms. Nice theory.

Problems arise for a number of reasons: The journalist just isn’t very good at understanding statistics, they are lazy, they don’t have time to read the relevant research & instead just re-state the press release, commercial pressures – perhaps the research company is a large buyer of advertising space, government pressure, or peer pressure (this one’s a biggy) – the last thing a science journo wants to be labeled is ‘a bit flaky’!

This leads us to the question, is there any good research on homeopathy? Well yes there is! Unfortunately any positive results are discounted by the skeptics (and ignored by the science journalists). There have been a few high profile papers published in supposedly reputable peer-reviewed journals whose negative conclusions were quoted over & over by science journos. Having an interest in the subject I actually read the papers, and the papers they had gathered their data from. What I found was….to put it bluntly…these people were telling outright lies. There is no other way to put it. I read the conclusions of papers saying ‘therefore we discovered a statistically significant result’ (in other words, the homeopathy worked!). This paper was then quoted as concluding that homeopathy was no better than placebo by the review paper! So the researcher lied, the peer-reviewed journal lied..& the journo was probably too lazy to care where the results came from, after all here was a story!

This is the sorry world homeopathic researchers find themselves in. If you are looking for a good source of research material, I would point you towards the HSI (http://homeoinst.org), they are a helpful bunch & formidably intelligent.

Alan

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