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Medical Fundamentalists Misinform on Homeopathy Again

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 by: Dana Ullman, MPH
Tags: homeopathy, medical fundamentalists, health news

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(NewsTarget) Medical fundamentalists (the "denialists") have again shown their strong propensity to spread misinformation about homeopathy and homeopaths. On September 7, 2010, Andy Lewis (who arrogantly calls himself the "Quackometer") declared in a headline for his blog: An Obituary: Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, 1849-2010.

Another denier of homeopathy, appropriately called "Gimpy," provided a little more accuracy in his headline, Farewell to the RLHH, hello to the RLHIM. However, both "reporters" provided a highly selective interpretation and significantly biased analysis of the re-naming of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital to become the Royal London Hospital for Integrative Medicine.

This misinformation is akin to creating an obituary for a caterpillar, even though it did not die but simply evolved into a butterfly.

Rather than mourn the death of a caterpillar, we should all be CELEBRATING the birth of a butterfly, and likewise, we can (and are) celebrating the birth of the Royal London Hospital for Integrative Medicine, which is the new name for this important hospital.

Sadly, the medical fundamentalists love to mis-characterize homeopathy and homeopaths. They often purposefully over-simplify what homeopathy is and isn`t, and they love to spin any potentially positive report on homeopathy in negative ways. This form of yellow journalism is typical of the reporting on homeopathy by denialists. The fact of the matter is that a large number of homeopaths integrate various natural therapies into their practices, and it's therefore not surprising that the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital would evolve into an integrative medical hospital. One could even assume that this evolution, like most evolutionary trends, was predictable.

Also typical of the medical fundamentalists are their mis-use of science and statistics. For instance, these medical fundamentalists were behind the recent report on homeopathy issued by the British House of Commons` Science and Technology Committee. This report had the sheer audacity of medical and scientific integrity to suggest that there is no research to show that homeopathic medicines have a beneficial effect beyond a placebo. This ilk of deniers find that by repeating a lie often enough, others will actually believe them.

It is not surprising that the leading organization that worked to support and popularize the Science and Technology Committee`s report on homeopathy was the infamous Sense About Science, a non-profit organization whose funding primarily comes from Big Pharma. The fact that the leader of this organization previously worked for a leading public relations company that represented Big Pharma interests seems to be lost by the skeptics of homeopathy (and by most of the media).

The medical fundamentalists commonly brag about the fact that this Science and Technology Committee`s report "proved" that there was no evidence that supports any specific benefits of homeopathic treatment beyond the placebo effect. And yet, none of these fundamentalists acknowledge that this Committee consisted of 14 members, 10 of whom did not consider this issue worthy of voting. Ultimately, a "majority" of only THREE members voted for this anti-homeopathy report. Of these three votes, two members were so new to the Committee that they did not attend a single hearing on the subject of homeopathy. The third vote for the "report" came from Evan Harris, a vitriolic antagonist to homeopathy who was not re-elected this year, losing to a 20-something year old political neophyte. Obviously, the British people wanted anyone but Evan Harris and his partisan science.

It seems that these medical fundamentalists not only have questionable ethics, but they also seem conveniently ignorant of medical history. Therefore, it's appropriate to be reminded of medical history, for unless we learn from history, we will be destined to repeat it...

About the author

DANA ULLMAN, MPH, is one of America's leading advocates for homeopathy. He has authored 10 books, including The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy (foreword written by Dr. Peter Fisher, Physician to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II), Homeopathy A-Z, Homeopathic Medicines for Children and Infants, and (the best-selling) Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medicines (with Stephen Cummings, MD). He is the founder of Homeopathic Educational Services (http://www.homeopathic.com), America's leading resource center for homeopathic books, tapes, medicines, medicine kits, software, and distance learning courses. Homeopathic Educational Services has co-published over 35 books on homeopathy with North Atlantic Books (which are distributed by Random House).

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