This is the reply of a homeopath who says he can cure Ebola

There’s a discussion online on this article about a group of homeopaths who wanted to go to West Africa and treat people sick with Ebola with homeopathy. For those of you who don’t know what homeopathy is, homeopathy basically boils down to magic. Homeopaths claim that water has “memory” and that you can dilute something beyond the point where any of the original solute is present but the water’s memory will somehow help you. Again, it’s magic.

One of the biggest arguments for homeopathy that you’ll encounter is that homeopathy is “natural” and “safe,” or that it performs just as good as placebo. Here’s a pro tip, folks. When something performs just as good as a placebo, it means that it’s a placebo, not a remedy, not a cure. Also, homeopathy is safe because it’s a placebo. Rarely does anyone overdose on nothing.

Anyway, some guy has shown up in the comments saying that we’re all likely pharma employees sent to discredit homeopathy. He also wrote something really bizarre, but something that is very telling about his science/medical knowledge:

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 7.26.24 PM

Here’s the transcript:

“I understand that there are people commenting here with abusive and aggressive languages and words are paid employees of multinational drug manufacturing companies who are just here to destroy alternative systems of medicine. Alternative medicines like homeopathy are good for humanity and their welfare but scientifically unprofitable for them, because they can’t exploit it by identifying the content in it. So they are employing paid people to destroy, frighten and abuse others to stop them from commenting and bringing out their opinions reasonably. All over the world in Intensive Care Units (ICU’s) of hospitals, doctors are watching a wave in the monitor after connecting the body through electrodes to a computer and understanding whether the patient is alive or dead depending upon the presence and absence of the wave. This wave is the energy called vital force or prana or chi, which creates and maintains the living phenomena. Any scientific researches done without incorporating this energy level entity and its role in the physical functioning will not give a correct and complete conclusion to the research studies and any solution they give with out considering the energy and based on the incomplete conclusions of the study of the physical body alone using the material science will never give a correct and complete solution. Today every thing is commercialized and nobody is looking at the welfare of humanity. So let the people who make blind, ignorant criticisms and opposition to homeopathy and other alternative systems of medicine be enlightened and think and work for the welfare of humanity at large.”

What?

That whole thing about a wave monitor is talking about an EKG, an electrocardiogram. An EKG is nothing more than a way to detect the electric potential of the heart as the heart’s pacemaker creates electric bursts to move the muscle fibers of the heart. There’s no magic in it. We’re not measuring any “vital force” with it. If you read a basic book on biology, especially the parts about membrane potentials, you’ll see that EKGs are just measuring how well electricity is traveling across the heart, electricity created by ions going through cell membranes.

Then he goes into a discussion about research studies done “with out (sic) considering the energy and based on the incomplete conclusions of the study of the physical body alone” and how they’re wrong for not taking into account the “vital force”. This is beyond uninformed, folks. This is living in an alternate reality, in a world where you can make up stuff and people will buy it from you… Where suckers are born every minute.

Oh, wait.

The truth is that homeopathy is not profitable to “big pharma” because “big pharma” has to prove that something works before they can slap a label on it and sell it. Bit “alt med” doesn’t need to prove a thing. All they have to do is slap the quack miranda warning on something, call it “natural” or “100% safe” (as if anything is) and sell it to the unsuspecting fools. They don’t have to conduct clinical trials, publish in peer-reviewed journals, or anything else that even looks like providing evidence. Any evidence they produce is in the way of subjective testimonies like, “I took homeopathy three days into my flu and it cleared up in three days!”

Great.

When I was working at the health department, one of my bosses asked me why I got so upset by quacks (and antivaxxers). I told him that these people are putting others in serious danger by pushing their quackery. When someone forgoes antibiotics for homeopathy and ends up dying from an infection, I have failed to do my job as a public health professional. I stand by that statement today, and I’ll stand by it for a very long time.

So I’ll continue to fight them… Fight them until I can’t.

I'm a doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Public Health program at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. All opinions posted here are my own, of course, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my school, employers, friends, family, etc. Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen

4 thoughts on “This is the reply of a homeopath who says he can cure Ebola

  1. Frankly, I was wading through his bovine defecation right up to the point he went into vital energy.
    There, he slipped into vitalism of the chiropath.

    But, you got the ECG slightly wrong as well, it isn’t membrane potential being measured by an ECG, but depolarization and subsequent repolarization of heart muscle groups during the contraction and relaxation of said muscle and conductive fibers. Reading membrane potentials is still a bit tricky in vivo, but reading work performed by large groups of cells acting together. I’ll not bother going into calcium channel potential vs sodium/potassium potentials, it gets rather complicated there.

    Of course, if you *really* want to go into the batshit crazy land, an extension of vitalism is “the electric universe”, where fusion does not exist and a fundamental incomprehension of electromagnetism makes electricity and magnetism the supreme force of the universe (with some even proclaiming gravity does not exist).

    Ignorance can be cured by education, but idiocy may not respond to education. In particular, willful ignorance is especially refractory to education.

    Like

      • Heh, I had an ECG done as part of pre-admission testing for my cataract surgery. A week previous, I was in the Persian Gulf region and suffered a heat stroke.
        The ECG software reported “digitalis effect”, due to damage from the heat stroke. It also recorded a train of PVC’s that toyed with V-tach. I asked the technician for a copy of the strip for my family doctor to review.
        Doctor sent me to a cardiologist the next day, as I was only home for a month to recover from the surgery.
        The conversation with the cardiologist went thus; “Doctor: You had a heart attack”, “Me, no I did not.” “Doctor, yes, you had a heart attack”, I replied, “No, I did not”.
        Around $50k of testing later, doctor said, “Hey, you didn’t have a heart attack!” I replied, “I told you so.” Doctor then iquired, “What do you think happened?” I explained, “A week ago, I had a heat stroke. I’m now throwing protein in my urine and experiencing PVC’s and sloping ST and short QT, which is why I came here to evaluate the severity of damage”.
        I did learn that the damage wasn’t all *that* severe, only annoying. I also learned that I had a maximum of 10% occlusion in one coronary artery, have high cholesterol and triglycerides (something I already knew) and am hypersentitive to statins (I go into rhabdo quickly).
        I’m also keeping an eye on my glucose levels, as I’m the first one in the family to get over 50 and not be type 2 diabetic.

        Like

        • Don’t remind me about PVCs. Those things were scary, especially when they were one after the other and my heart didn’t beat the right way for a whole ten seconds. That was some scary stuff… And I only worked myself into more PVCs. They’re gone now, and I’ve learned to ignore the normal, occasional ones that we all get.

          Like

Comments are closed.