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People living with HIV turn to homeopathy in Botswana

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Description: pseudoscience posing as real science
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bluegray
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« on: May 09, 2008, 11:42:45 AM »

Perhaps the saddest part of this article:
Quote
Alex Sarefo and Wasanapi Kapii, two young men working with the project as volunteers, translate for the homeopaths but eventually hope to conduct their own consultations. With a view to future sustainability, the project is funding them to complete a three-year UK-based long-distance course to qualify as homeopaths.

"At first I was so sceptical, until I saw the changes happening in patients, and then I started reading up on it and understanding the science behind it," said Sarefo, who started helping at the project after taking a break from his medical studies in Zimbabwe

The science behind it? As detailed in this thread and many others - the science behind homeopathy is dubious at best. Not to be confused with herbal or natural remedies, it is based on flawed assumptions that have been disproven by proper science for quite some time now. For an excellent introduction read An Introduction to Homeopathy
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2008, 13:34:54 PM »

I agree - this article is shocking and sad. What I also think is terrible is the fact that Fairclough probably thinks that by giving an alternative to throwing the bones, she is helping!

A medical degree in Zim used to be rated quite highly; if their medical students are coming up with statements like "I started reading up on it and understanding the science behind it" - what chance to the general population have?
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2008, 13:10:18 PM »

Perhaps the saddest part of this article:
Quote
Alex Sarefo and Wasanapi Kapii, two young men working with the project as volunteers, translate for the homeopaths but eventually hope to conduct their own consultations. With a view to future sustainability, the project is funding them to complete a three-year UK-based long-distance course to qualify as homeopaths.

"At first I was so sceptical, until I saw the changes happening in patients, and then I started reading up on it and understanding the science behind it," said Sarefo, who started helping at the project after taking a break from his medical studies in Zimbabwe

The science behind it? As detailed in this thread and many others - the science behind homeopathy is dubious at best. Not to be confused with herbal or natural remedies, it is based on flawed assumptions that have been disproven by proper science for quite some time now. For an excellent introduction read An Introduction to Homeopathy


There is an another book on Introduction to homeopathy: [nofollow]http://www.drdooley.net/Book.pdf[/nofollow]
« Last Edit: July 13, 2008, 17:17:58 PM by bluegray V, Reason: possible ad » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2008, 18:44:51 PM »

There is an another book on Introduction to homeopathy: [nofollow]http://www.drdooley.net/Book.pdf[/nofollow]
Let’s examine this testimonial a little more closely.  Dr Dooley, the author, bases his case for homoeopathy on several things, among them the very bad, the very unlikely and the as yet unverified conjectures of Samuel Hahnemann, a bogus historical tradition, the alleged harmfulness of some conventional medicines, the supposed “vital force” for which no evidence exists, the harmlessness of homoeopathy, and also homoeopathy’s pretensions to holism – i.e. “treating the whole patient.”  He considers his own direct experiences as prima facie evidence in favour of homoeopathy and cites one of his cases in Chapter 4 in support of his views.  His case study shows only that some homoeopaths are just as much in the dark about human physiology as conventional practitioners (given the subject’s enormous complexity), something homoeopaths are very good at pretending doesn’t apply in their case.  He doesn’t realise that the failures of competing modalities do not support the one he practises, and that his own experience is irrelevant compared to carefully conducted clinical trials.

Here are his views in a nutshell:
The final word

There are many interesting and useful therapies in this world, some natural, some not.  But I have yet to find anything which takes the place of homeopathy.

At best, homeopathy represents a new branch of science that, when better understood, will open new vistas throughout the biological sciences as it does in healthcare.

At worst, homeopathy is a harmless placebo demonstrating that much of conventional medicine is unnecessary and harmful.

My direct experience with homeopathy is such that I say with confidence, of the above two possibilities, the first, the best scenario, is the correct one.


Dr Dooley hasn’t been paying adequate attention to epidemiology and other medical journals.  No repeatable studies have yet shown homoeopathy to have any effect beyond placebo.  Meta-studies have yielded results that are no different.  His book was copyrighted in 1995 and in the ten-plus years since then, the debate has raged on unabated with no new science and/or evidence to convince the sceptics of homoeopathy’s effectiveness.  In the meantime, proponents carry on as though they know some deep secret of the universe that the sceptics aren’t privy to.  Nor does Dooley consider HIV/AIDS, and Southern Africa has enough trouble with various traditional “healers,” witchdoctors and shamans pretending much as homoeopaths do – that they effect what conventional medicine recognises as a hard problem.

None which actually does a single thing for Botswana’s HIV sufferers.

'Luthon64
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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2008, 05:40:17 AM »

There is an another book on Introduction to homeopathy: [nofollow]http://www.drdooley.net/Book.pdf[/nofollow]
Let’s examine this testimonial a little more closely.  Dr Dooley, the author, bases his case for homoeopathy on several things, among them the very bad, the very unlikely and the as yet unverified conjectures of Samuel Hahnemann, a bogus historical tradition, the alleged harmfulness of some conventional medicines, the supposed “vital force” for which no evidence exists, the harmlessness of homoeopathy, and also homoeopathy’s pretensions to holism – i.e. “treating the whole patient.”  He considers his own direct experiences as prima facie evidence in favour of homoeopathy and cites one of his cases in Chapter 4 in support of his views.  His case study shows only that some homoeopaths are just as much in the dark about human physiology as conventional practitioners (given the subject’s enormous complexity), something homoeopaths are very good at pretending doesn’t apply in their case.  He doesn’t realise that the failures of competing modalities do not support the one he practises, and that his own experience is irrelevant compared to carefully conducted clinical trials.

Here are his views in a nutshell:
The final word

There are many interesting and useful therapies in this world, some natural, some not.  But I have yet to find anything which takes the place of homeopathy.

At best, homeopathy represents a new branch of science that, when better understood, will open new vistas throughout the biological sciences as it does in healthcare.

At worst, homeopathy is a harmless placebo demonstrating that much of conventional medicine is unnecessary and harmful.

My direct experience with homeopathy is such that I say with confidence, of the above two possibilities, the first, the best scenario, is the correct one.


Dr Dooley hasn’t been paying adequate attention to epidemiology and other medical journals.  No repeatable studies have yet shown homoeopathy to have any effect beyond placebo.  Meta-studies have yielded results that are no different.  His book was copyrighted in 1995 and in the ten-plus years since then, the debate has raged on unabated with no new science and/or evidence to convince the sceptics of homoeopathy’s effectiveness.  In the meantime, proponents carry on as though they know some deep secret of the universe that the sceptics aren’t privy to.  Nor does Dooley consider HIV/AIDS, and Southern Africa has enough trouble with various traditional “healers,” witchdoctors and shamans pretending much as homoeopaths do – that they effect what conventional medicine recognises as a hard problem.

None which actually does a single thing for Botswana’s HIV sufferers.

'Luthon64

Vital force is nothing but what you call as energy, ki in japanese oriental medicine, chi in chinese medicine, prana in ayurveda.

This book is in its first edition. You can have its second edition at http://www.beyondflatearth.com/
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2008, 09:57:18 AM »

Vital force is nothing but what you call as energy, ki in japanese oriental medicine, chi in chinese medicine, prana in ayurveda.
No, it is decidedly not what I call “energy.”  I use the correct definition – that of physicists – namely, “the capacity to do work,” where “work” also has a very precise physical definition.  The concept you’re talking about is some mystical quintessence (see, even European people, in particular the Greeks, of old had a similar idea – the so-called “Fifth Element,” which is where the name “quintessence” comes from).  The existence of this magical stuff has yet to be shown in any convincing way, and therefore all medical practices that invoke it are no more convincing than blowing smoke over some ill person – a kind of Feng Shui of the body, no more than ancient superstition ported into the 21st century by dishonest or deluded thieves who would steal and subvert real science.

This book is in its first edition. You can have its second edition at http://www.beyondflatearth.com/
Has the author renounced homoeopathy?  Has he done some decent clinical trials?  Or is he, as I suspect, still preaching to the choir and the gullible?

'Luthon64
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2008, 11:37:34 AM »

Just in case people think there is no opposition to pseudoscience and magical thinking in Botswana...
http://botswanaskeptic.blogspot.com/2008/02/homeopathy-letter-to-mmegi.html
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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2008, 20:01:10 PM »

I enjoyed your post botswanaskeptic.
What a travesty
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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2009, 07:03:17 AM »

Vital force is nothing but what you call as energy, ki in japanese oriental medicine, chi in chinese medicine, prana in ayurveda.
No, it is decidedly not what I call “energy.”  I use the correct definition – that of physicists – namely, “the capacity to do work,” where “work” also has a very precise physical definition.  The concept you’re talking about is some mystical quintessence (see, even European people, in particular the Greeks, of old had a similar idea – the so-called “Fifth Element,” which is where the name “quintessence” comes from).  The existence of this magical stuff has yet to be shown in any convincing way, and therefore all medical practices that invoke it are no more convincing than blowing smoke over some ill person – a kind of Feng Shui of the body, no more than ancient superstition ported into the 21st century by dishonest or deluded thieves who would steal and subvert real science.

'Luthon64


Vitalism is the metaphysical doctrine that living organisms possess a non-physical inner force or energy that gives them the property of life.

Vitalists believe that the laws of physics and chemistry alone cannot explain life functions and processes. Vitalism is opposed to mechanistic materialism and its thesis that life emerges from a complex combination of organic matter.

The vitalistic principle goes by many names: chi or qi (China) prana (India and therapeutic touch), ki (Japan); Wilhelm Reich's orgone, Mesmer's animal magnetism, Bergson's élan vital (vital force), etc. American advocates much prefer the term energy. Many kinds of alternative therapies or energy medicines are based upon a belief that health is determined by the flow of this alleged energy. For examples, see Ayurvedic medicine, therapeutic touch, reiki, and qigong.

Vitalism is the metaphysical doctrine that living organisms possess, a non-physical inner force or energy that gives them the property of life.

Vitalists believe that the laws of physics and chemistry alone cannot explain life functions and processes. Vitalism is opposed to mechanistic materialism and its thesis that life emerges from a complex combination of organic matter.

The vitalistic principle goes by many names: chi or qi (China) prana (India and therapeutic touch), ki (Japan); Wilhelm Reich's orgone, Mesmer's animal magnetism, Bergson's élan vital (vital force), etc. American advocates much prefer the term energy. Many kinds of alternative therapies or energy medicines are based upon a belief that health is determined by the flow of this alleged energy. For examples, see Ayurvedic medicine, therapeutic touch, reiki, and qigong.

interconnective forces that link the body's various immune and defense functions.

For details see http://www.hpathy.com/homeopathyforums/forum_posts.asp?TID=9047
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« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2009, 16:22:07 PM »


Vitalism is the metaphysical doctrine that living organisms possess a non-physical inner force or energy that gives them the property of life.

Has this been proven?

If a force is non-physical, can it influence the physical?

Define "metaphysical".

Do you then hold that no life can exist as purely biological? Why not?

Quote
Vitalists believe that the laws of physics and chemistry alone cannot explain life functions and processes.

The egyptians believed embalming yourself in a tomb under a pyramid would grant eternal life. Do you have more proof than they did? Or are you just believing something "because you believe it", and no other reason whatsoever? We KNOW you believe it. We're sure you're POSITIVELY CONVINCED it works. We want to know, why?

Quote
Vitalism is opposed to mechanistic materialism and its thesis that life emerges from a complex combination of organic matter.

My point is this: There's a ton of evidence for the latter, there is NO evidence for the former. No matter how many people believe it, no matter how many cool names it has. Is it true? Can you show it to be true? That is how you'll sway this crowd. And I dare say, you will fail to bring forth any proof, because there is none. And secondly, because the latter is already very well proven in biology. When you say "I believe X". You're saying someone has convinced you that X is true. How did they convince you? Did someone do some experiment that proved to you that there is this "vital" energy? Could you tell us what it was?
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« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2009, 18:29:31 PM »

It maintains this equilibrium; it is the profound force within us, the self-defence mechanism, the immune system, or whatever name you may call it. It is that system, that vital force which we must recognize and help in its endeavour.

What is this energy, this life principle, which keeps you going? That energy which is the preservative energy of the body takes care of not millions or billions, but trillions and trillions of functions in the body
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« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2009, 19:34:36 PM »

All you’ve done is describe vitalism (an in-any-case-desperate doctrine because it is unscientific), not shown how it relates to the physical quantity called “energy.”  Nor have you given any evidence to show that what you claim has any factual basis at all.

'Luthon64
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« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2010, 12:16:30 PM »

Back to the topic of woo about HIV/Aids:  A touch of sanity from Ethiopia (of all places Wink).

'Luthon64
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« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2010, 10:39:08 AM »

Meanwhile, in a bid to affirm that cultural respect must trump wisdom, KZN’s government champions outmoded superstitions and candy coats them:
THE KwaZulu-Natal government has thrown its weight behind King Goodwill Zwelithini’s plan to revive the custom of male circumcision as part of preventing the scourge of HIV.

(More)
How about bloodletting and leeches and mercuric salts?  Nah, too Eurocentric.

21st century, anyone?

'Luthon64
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« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2010, 10:51:16 AM »

Hmm, last I read circumcision really did lower your chances of contracting aids. Seriously.

EDIT: Yup, the WHO recommends it: http://www.who.int/hiv/mediacentre/news68/en/index.html
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