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Logical fallacies of the homeopathic kind [41-50]

Posted in Altie Meds, homeopathy, Skepdude by Skepdude on November 11, 2008

Welcome to the 5th and final part of my reply to the article titled “Presenting 50 Facts About Homeopathy. Here are the links to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.So without further ado, let us get into it, because this lady has come up with more stuff to review and I would like to take a stab at that as well, in due time.

* Fact 41 – Most homeopaths treat patients who have been referred to them by word of mouth. Most patients seek out homeopathy because conventional treatment has not benefited them or because it poses too great a risk of side-effects.

Non Sequitur – There is nothing good to be inferred by these facts. Just because people may be unhappy, or incurable, with conventional medicine and just because the deluded are referring gullible or desperate friends to the homeopaths, that does not have anything to say if homeopathy works or not. In the country where I grew up millions of people fell victims of pyramid schemes. They were also referred to the con artists by word of mouth and they were unhappy with the economic situation the country was in. Should we deduct that pyramid schemes are thus good? Nonsense!

* Fact 42 – The homeopathic community has thousands, even millions, of written case notes that demonstrate the positive benefits of their treatment. Some homeopaths have video proof of their patients before and after treatment.

Anecdotal Evidence – is not data. Anything that tries to brand itself as scientific should know that the plural of anecdotes does not equal data! The part about the video proof is remarkably ridiculous. Having video, or photos, before and after is quite useless unless we know exactly what happened in between. I can produce video of before and after that can show anything. Hell I can make the claim that drinking a glass of orange juice has the same effect on your outward appearance as shaving and taking a nice shower. No really, I have video proof of the appearance before and after drinking the juice.

* Fact 43 – Homeopaths charge patients an average of £50 an hour. Specialist Doctors can charge up to £200 or more.

Non Sequitur – I never quite get these sort of statements. I guess the point is that we should go to the homeopaths instead of the doctors because they are cheaper, but does cheapness justify the purchase? This is like saying that  a Kia is cheaper than a Lexus, therefore the Kia is better, or therefore you should by a Kia.

* Fact 44 – The popularity of homeopathy has grown in the past 30 years, its revival entirely through word of mouth and estimated to be growing at more than 20% a year the world over.

Appeal to popularity – why should we care how popular it is or it isn’t? The question here is does it work, not are people being deceived.  A succesful lie is still a lie. Success alone does not guarantee quality!

* Fact 45 – Hundreds of famous people throughout the past 200 years have enjoyed the benefits of homeopathic medicine ( .

Appeal to authority – so what? Since when are “famous people” experts in medicine? Famous people in general are known to embrace all kinds of stupid things! Tom Cruise anyone???

Appeal to popularity – Hundreeds? Ha, out of thousands/millions of famous people? A failed attempt I would say at an appeal to popularity. Still, even if all the famous people swore by homeopathy, that would still make no difference whatsoever.

* Fact 46 – The aristocratic patronage of homeopathy in the U.K. extended well into the 1940s and beyond can be easily demonstrated. In the Homeopathic Medical Directories there are lists of patrons of the dispensaries and hospitals. They read like an extract from Burke’s or Debrett’s.

Appeal to authority – Oh yea and aristocrats in 19th/20th century U.K. are medical authorities too, just like the famous people in the previous fact. This is getting more and more ridiculous. I think she started of with the number 50 in her head, and is saying anythig she can think of to reach that number.

* Fact 47 – The Royal Families of Europe use homeopathic medicine and Queen Elizabeth II of England never travels anywhere without her homeopathic vials of medicine.

Non sequitur – Why should the Queen’s beliefs be given more importance than the homeless man’s beliefs? Is she trained in medicine? Has she conducted studies to support her belief? Or is her belief blind? Something tells me its the latter one.

* Fact 48 – Homeopathy is practised nowadays in countries all over the world. In India there are 100 homeopathic medical schools and around 250,000 homeopathic doctors.

* Fact 49 – In a recent Global TGI survey where people were asked whether they trust homeopathy the following percentages of people living in urban areas said YES: 62% in India, 58% Brazil, 53% Saudi Arabia, Chile 49%, United Arab Emirates 49%, France 40%, South Africa 35%, Russia 28%, Germany 27%, Argentina 25%, Hungary 25%, USA 18%, UK 15% (…)

Appeal to popularity– Facts 48 and 49 are cut from the same lame attempt at an appeal to popularity. We’ve already gone over this fallacy a hundred times in this series so I won’t waste your time. I can’t help but notice though that the higher rates of acceptance of hemopathy come from Thirld World countries, or developing, poor countries, in other words countries where real medicine is harder to come by. Compare the acceptance rates in India and Brazil with those in the U.K. and USA! Hmmm…. I wonder what that means?

* Fact 50 – The media as a whole has been unwilling to air a defence of the efficacy of homeopathy and the validity of this 250 year old profession.

Appeal to Antiquity – This is also a favorite fallacy among (S)CAM-ers. It’s been around for thousands of years they say, even though homeopathy doesn’t have thousands of years to boast about. But hey, I guess 250 is impressive. Nevertheless, blodletting, withcraft and countless other stupid theories have been around for as long too. I guess we must accept their efficacy as well.

Conspiracy Theory – The big bad media is not on our side. Bad media! Forget that media only cares about ratings and they’re always credulously reporting anything. Hello foot detoxing specials on your morning/evening news anyone?


7 Responses

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  1. Krishna said, on November 11, 2008 at 9:34 AM

    Well! In spite of all the nonsense written in this blog against Homoeopathy -it works. That is the greatness of the system! If you dont want to see the truth just keep your eyes shut. Dont expect the world to be blind for that.

  2. Skepdude said, on November 11, 2008 at 2:12 PM

    Right, it works when no one is looking right? It always works, unless it is being carefully tested of course. Talk about keeping your eyes shut!

  3. maria said, on November 11, 2008 at 6:25 PM

    Thanks for an excellent article that tells it like it is. Of course, there’s no danger of homeopushers discussing homeopathy rationally but the danger that desperate people with serious conditions will waste their money on useless homeopathic ‘remedies’ is set to rise thanks to the shameless promotion by these irresponsible charlatans.

  4. Homeo said, on November 14, 2008 at 3:02 PM

    I totally agree with Krishna, it doesn’t matter if there are some lies in each of these facts, the only thing that matters is that homeopathy works — I’ve told you about my cat, right?

  5. Homeo said, on November 14, 2008 at 4:57 PM

    Oh, there was typo in my last comment: those aren’t even lies, they’re just logical fallacies! So what?!

  6. Lizette said, on January 4, 2015 at 11:05 PM

    Yesterday i spent 300 bucks for platinium roulette system
    , i hope that i will make my first $$$ online

  7. ARKA BAIRAGYA said, on May 10, 2020 at 9:36 AM

    I have just completed reading your all 5 parts on homeopathic logical fallacies. You have done an excellent job. I am an internal medicine specialist in India. The situation is really bad here. People are dumb and crazy about homeopathy. We a team of doctors are going to publish a book on homeopathy to educate the people real soon. Keep up the good work in your blog.

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