Ben Goldacre on Homeopathy

Sometimes people wonder why the skeptic types get all worked up over a behavior that is usually seen as at-worst harmless. Ben Goldacre explains why, in one of the best, and clearest articles on the problem of homeopathic medicine.

This is exactly what I said, albeit in nerdier academic language, in today’s edition of the Lancet, Britain’s biggest medical journal. These views are what homeopaths are describing as an “attack”. But I am very clear. There is no single right way to package up all of this undeniable and true information into a “view” on homeopathy.

When I’m feeling generous, I think: homeopathy could have value as placebo, on the NHS even, although there are ethical considerations, and these serious cultural side-effects to be addressed.

But when they’re suing people instead of arguing with them, telling people not to take their medical treatments, killing patients, running conferences on HIV fantasies, undermining the public’s understanding of evidence and, crucially, showing absolutely no sign of ever being able to engage in a sensible conversation about the perfectly simple ethical and cultural problems that their practice faces, I think: these people are just morons. I can’t help that: I’m human. The facts are sacred, but my view on them changes from day to day.

It’s awesome. Read it.