Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Enemies Of Reason (Part 2)

After his attack on superstition in part one, Dawkins turns his attention to alternative medicine.

The conclusion drawn is that any reports of these remedies working is totally down to the placebo effect of the way the patient is treated by the practitioner. The time spent and the empathy shown. Any healing is the result of self-healing which would have happened anyway if a sympathetic ear was available. The healing is not due to the actual treatment itself which is unproven by scientific tests.

Homeopathy is a particular target of Dawkins as in this country it is partly funded by the NHS (£10 million on the refurbishment of the Royal Homeopathic Hospital itself). Everybody should know by now that homeopathic medicine is basically water, but nutty Prince Charles uses it so crawling politicians fund it.

For a few years I took homeopathic medicine for hayfever. Fucking useless. Still, I wasn't filling my body with naughty chemicals that could have had all manner of side effects, was I? No, I was swallowing water!

I've gone down the proper alternative therapy route. I've seen a naturopath for my IBS and a kinesiologist for my gastro-oesophageal reflux problems. Both very relaxing (lots of laying down and having bits massaged, lots of listening to my problems, nodding sympathetically), and in the case of kinesiology as nutty as a fruitcake with all that chakra bollocks. Both fucking useless though.

I needed something real, something that gets in there and gets the job done, changing the fucked up chemistry in my brain, not some mind over matter placebo shit. Good old tried and trusted drugs to smash my problems like a nutcracker smashes a nut, enabling me to put on weight and feel healthy, not walk around as thin as a rake on a diet of the few things I can eat because poor little me has too sensitive a digestion to eat certain important staple foods.

So yes, Dawkins. I'm totally on your side. I've been there, done that and I'm not going back.

p.s. Professor, did I tell you about the time I was abducted by God-botherers?


  1. You tell 'em Geoff!
    I saw the programme too.

    My mum went to get acupuncture for a similar problem to yours.
    The woman stuck in some needles then went off to (loudly) chat to her pals on the phone.
    She then came back and collected a large amount of dosh!

  2. I bet she felt a prick, Kaz.

    Placebo always sends me to sleep with their droning. I prefer something much heavier like Acid Reflux.

  3. "Having bits massaged" can actually help, especially with stress-related conditions.

    I used to know a lady in Streatham who was particularly good at it.

  4. Kaz - I've tried acupuncture for something else and there was a lot of leaving you to your own devices as you're trying to embrace the pain of the needles. That treatment didn't work, either.

    Murph - I thought a Placebo was meant to make you feel better. I just feel like throttling the whiny prat.

    Tim - We only get £1.50 a day in luncheon vouchers here!

  5. I tried Combination H for my hayfever. It made my hayfever worse. Apparently one quirk of some alternative remedies is they make things worse, usually temporarily, but sometimes (in my case) for as long as you take the so-called remedy.

    I thought of trying Bach Rescue Remedy for stress, but the most effective part of the remedy is the brandy it's dissolved in so I went to the offy instead.

  6. I agree that many alternative practitioners are poorly trained or charlatans, but this fact shouldn't extent to all of alternative medicine.

    As a homeopath I see too many results in complex clinical situations for me to believe in the placebo explanation, which seems a cop-out rather than a properly scientific conclusion.

    I've written a reply to Dawkins' criticism of homeopathy on my blog:

    Is Homeopathic Medicine the "Enemy of Reason"?