Talk:Homeopathy/Archive 26

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Archive 25 Archive 26 Archive 27

NPOV tag, again

The article has been full protected to stop an edit war over one lousy tag. Does this article really need it? I think the article is about as neutral as it is going to get, and perma-tagging this article is pointless. The point of tags is " alert other editors that work is needed, and auto-categorize pages so that patrolling editors can aid their talent to the problem." See Wikipedia:Dispute templates. If you feel the tag is needed, please point out the specific parts that are POV so they can be fixed. --Phirazo 22:42, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

I have not been actively involved in recent discussion or editing of this article, but on quick observation it still states in the third paragraph of the LEAD, "ideas of homeopathy are scientifically implausible", this is not NPOV. —Whig (talk) 22:49, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Why is that not NPOV? WP:Fringe states that it is appropriate to report levels of acceptance and there are scientific reviews to source that statement. If we can say the earth is spherical, then we should be able to also say that homeopathy is scientifically implausible. I'm sure I can find a whole bunch of people who think the earth is flat. It is not sufficient to say you do not like the POV of a sentence as WP:NPOV clearly states we do not need to give equal validity to fringe theories. Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Pseudoscience also found that "Theories which have a following, such as astrology, but which are generally considered pseudoscience by the scientific community may properly contain that information and may be categorized as pseudoscience." So please explain, with reference to wikipedia policy why anything in the article is not NPOV. JamesStewart7 (talk) 23:17, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
You may attribute the statement to a reliable source, but otherwise you are stating your POV. —Whig (talk) 23:28, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
"The ideas of homeopathy are scientifically implausible" is sourced to The Lancet, a highly influential and peer-reviewed medical journal. Sources don't get much more reliable than that. --Phirazo 00:33, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
That's fine. So say, "According to the respected Lancet, ..." —Whig (talk) 00:34, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
respected is POV. just say according to the journal Lancet —Preceding unsigned comment added by Smith Jones (talkcontribs) 00:40, 10 January 2008
Fine. "According to the Lancet, which is ranked #3, by impact factor, among general medical journals." Reference here: [1]. Of course this conveys the same meaning but as this comment deals purely in factual information it should be considered NPOV. JamesStewart7 (talk) 06:12, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that's fine. —Whig (talk) 00:41, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
At the end of the day, we should call a spade a spade. Homeopathy is scientifically implausible. That is a fact. I don't see the need for an in text attribution, just a footnote is fine. --Phirazo 01:47, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I disagree, as do reliable sources. —Whig (talk) 01:54, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Exactly which ones? JamesStewart7 (talk) 06:12, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

There are plenty of good sources, and perhaps we should get them involved. For example, consider this clip from a letter to The Times signed by 12 top UK scientists, including the UK's first professor of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (Edzard Ernst) [2]: First, there is now overt promotion of homeopathy in parts of the NHS (including the NHS Direct website). It is an implausible treatment for which over a dozen systematic reviews have failed to produce convincing evidence of effectiveness. Despite this, a recently-published patient guide, promoting use of homeopathy without making the lack of proven efficacy clear to patients, is being made available through government funding. Further suggestions about benefits of homeopathy in the treatment of asthma have been made in the ‘Smallwood Report’ and in another publication by the Department of Health designed to give primary care groups “a basic source of reference on complementary and alternative therapies.” A Cochrane review of all relevant studies, however, failed to confirm any benefits for asthma treatment. Antelan talk 05:34, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you're trying to prove here, Antelan. I grant you have other reliable sources that you can attribute. This one is fine. We cannot state a source's opinion as a fact, however unless we attribute it. —Whig (talk) 05:38, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
If we can establish a scientific consensus that homeopathy is scientifically implausible we should be able to just label it as such without attribution. We do this in every other article. Take the article on the earth for example. It states "The Earth's shape is very close to an oblate spheroid". It doesn't state "According to these scientists, the earth's shape is very close to an oblate spheroid." It just says "is". The current scientific consensus has always been taken as fact in wikipedia. It is only necessary to make these attributions if there is no scientific consensus. So do you have a reliable, scientific source which states that the ideas of homeopathy are scientifically plausible, one that hasn't been thoroughly discredited (eg nature controversy, water memory)? JamesStewart7 (talk) 06:12, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Right, I agree that attribution is important. I'm not trying to prove anything; I'm offering this as a source that may better demonstrate the mainstream view of homeopathy; this may be even less assailable than the current source, and ultimately more appealing and intelligible for non-scientist readers. Antelan talk 05:41, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Okay, thanks. If you think that it would be better to use a different source and attribute a more clear statement then that would be good too. —Whig (talk) 06:12, 10 January 2008 (UTC)


this aprotection is a ownderful opportunity. if we could exntend it for 2-3 months and focu sall of our energy onthe talk page to resolve our disuptes. i support Whigs' positon here. pretsenting view s critical of homeoapthy is fine iwth me., but they must be relegatedto the talk page or sourced from a RELIABLE, WIKIPEDIA-CTERIFIED SOURCE or else they are opinion statemnets. and not worthy of wiipieda. it has nothing to wo do with WP:Fringe (homeoapthy, a scientific pracice with billions of supporters worldwide, is hardly a fringe supject]. Smith Jones (talk) 23:32, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

If you're not going to learn how science works, can you please learn how to speak and type English? Your comments are bordering on incomprehensible. Randy Blackamoor (talk) 01:10, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Peer-reviewed sources are considered reliable by Wikipedia's content guidelines (WP:RS). Plenty of peer-reviewed sources show the efficacy of homeopathic remedies is the same as a placebo. Homeopathy is a fringe theory, widely discredited in mainstream medicine. That is indisputable. --Phirazo 01:59, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
just because mainstream science disputes homeopathy doesnt mean that it is unpopualr or unnoteworthy, and it is not up to wikipedia to debate facts but to recor the statements and opiions of experts BOTH for- and against- homeopathy, that is the main point of the NPOV policy. Smith Jones (talk) 02:05, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't think anyone is debating the popularity or notability of homeopathy. Many, however, are stating that homeopathy has been widely discredity. If you have a RS that establish's homeopathy's effectiveness please present it here. Note, however, no one is going to accept anything that is not published in a peer reviewed journal (unreliable) and no one will accept a primary source without a good reason (see WP:SYN and WP:PSTS). JamesStewart7 (talk) 06:24, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Widely discredited? How so? Anthon01 (talk) 06:55, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
In the case of the Beneviste experiments and water memory I would say it became widely discredited when this [3] was published. JamesStewart7 (talk) 08:13, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I am aware of the Benviste issue. It doesn't discredit homeopathy, it only discredits Benviste's research. Anthon01 (talk) 11:01, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Do you mean how scientists see it is akin to how they see Cold fusion? Peter morrell 10:55, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

While cold fusion is considerably dubious, I'd say water memory is much more open and shut than cold fusion. I don't think you're going to find "More than 490 reports in peer-reviewed journals have suggested unexplained phenomenon..." about water memory. It's also more simple to find where the experiments have been screwed up in the case of water memory (you'll notice the majority of the reports about water memory are not blinded for example). JamesStewart7 (talk) 12:10, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I just noticed this conversation and will venture an answer. Credibility or lack thereof is legitimately determined by those who attempt to established "credibility", IOW the scientific community using the scientific method. The rest of the world can choose to believe them or not. I won't even go into the myriad illegitimate ways used to attempt to establish credibility, such has false claims, marketing, etc.. After so much research over the years, it is now pretty much indisputable that the scientific community has become nearly universally (of course there are exceptions) skeptical of homeopathy, and this skepticism is so widespread that very few scientists even attempt any research on it anymore, considering it a moot question and any further research a waste of time. For them it is now a settled question, barring any new and drastic increases in knowledge that overturn much of our existing knowledge of physics, physiology, biology, and of course logic. If that were to happen, there would be a flurry of renewed interest among scientists to resume long-since dropped research on the subject. In that case, this article would also change since there would be V & RS reporting on these new revelations. We follow the sources here. -- Fyslee / talk 07:12, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I know we follow the sources. Do you have a citation that says it is a settled question? When did it become settled? Anthon01 (talk) 07:23, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
You might find such a statement when one hears scientists and skeptics talking casually, like I do above, but anyone who understands science knows that nothing is totally settled, as implied in what I wrote about "barring any new.....knowledge..." Science is always open to new evidence and follows the evidence. People are slower, but true scientists will eventually bow to the evidence if it is convincing. Those who are not so inclined are either not very good scientists, or don't understand the need for following evidence, choosing instead to believe anecdotes and arguments like "acupuncture has been used for thousands of years and millions (billions is only in modern times...;-) of Chinese can't be wrong," or "They laughed at Einstein. They laughed at the Wright Brothers. (But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown." -- Carl Sagan), etc.. One can choose to use time productively, or choose to invest in what is nearly certainly a false hope. Notice I write "nearly certainly".... Nothing is absolutely certain, but if one were to pick a subject about which one were to claim "it is a settled matter that it is nonsense," homeopathy is about as certain as one can get about anything we know of in human knowledge. It is so close to absolutely certain that skeptics have staged mass suicide attempts using homeopathic preparations, and the expected result ensued - no change at all. One can be certain of one thing, homeopathy won't let you down. The result is always the same. -- Fyslee / talk 07:40, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Homeopathy claims to be non-toxic. So how would someone take a fatal dose? No one has ever taken a fatal dose of cannabis either, but it does have effects. —Whig (talk) 07:47, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
A fatal dose of pov is more likely. :)
It takes science, not scepticism or casual talk by scientists, to falsify a theory. Guido den Broeder (talk) 13:32, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Cannabis has very objectively measurable physiological effects (besides the psychological effects) that are undeniably far beyond a mere placebo effect, and no one disputes that. Of course a "contact high" can certainly add to that effect, since getting high also includes some interesting psychologically and sociologically programmed effects that aren't connected with actual THC chemical componenets...;-) Generally anything that has objectivly verifiable effects will also have side effects, so anything claiming to have no side effects won't have any real objective effects either.

As to falsifiability, it is pretty obvious that the significant claims of homeopathy are easily falsifiable. What muddies the waters is that homeopaths are constantly moving the goalposts in attempts to avoid their method getting shot down, but it's been done enough times using high quality experiments to remove all doubt in those who are educated and understand science. When the goal posts (claims) of any method get moved enough, it ends up becoming a mere metaphysical phenomenon that has nothing to do with science. But that doesn't happen with homeopathy because it continues to be accompanied by falsifiable scientific claims that are easily accessible and measurable using scientific methods, and thus qualifies as a pseudoscience. If no falsifiable claims were made, it wouldn't be vulnerable to being considered a pseudoscience. -- Fyslee / talk 15:13, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

I wish I understood why you are so certain of what you are saying. Perhaps you can provide some citations to support "it is pretty obvious that the significant claims of homeopathy are easily falsifiable," and "but it's been done enough times using high quality experiments to remove all doubt in those who are educated and understand science." Anthon01 (talk) 16:18, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
That is because we are coming from very different places and POV. I have previously been an alt med practitioner and believed in many ideas common to the alt med paradigm. I lived and practiced it, along with my family, read lots about it, and believed it. It cost my mother (and later my mother-in-law) their lives. I then took a science based education (Physicians Assistant) and also served as a research assistant to MDs doing cardiovascular research. I learned about the scientific method, logical fallacies, research protocols, the necessity of blinding, the frailty of anecdotes and personal experience as a proof of anything (but still an impetus to perform research), etc.. Later I also became a Physical Therapist. After many years of a rocky journey, I became a skeptic and now can see things from both sides, understanding why people can believe both POV. I have since read much of the scientific research, or at least the available abstracts, on homeopathy, and seen them explained and dissected. After all that I can make the kinds of statements I make. I don't expect you to just believe me. You will have to make your own journey, and I can respect that. Unfortunately I can't do it for you, and I can't repeat it for you enough to convince you. Other therapies would be easier to deal with, but homeopathy involves such radical breaks with the rules of logic that it is pretty hard to convince real believers that it is humbug. So it all depends on your degree of attachment to it whether any of us (or any amount of scientific research) would have a chance of shaking your belief. I really don't know how deeply you believe in it, but that doesn't really matter here. I can still respect you. We are just trying to edit an article that must be written according to certain rules and conventions. Our personal beliefs have to be put aside to some degree while editing, and we need to follow the sources. -- Fyslee / talk 06:48, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I appreciate what you've been through, and am sorry to hear about you lost. Thanks for taking the time to explain.
Alt-med, like anything can be misapplied, but that doesn't make it useless. Our situations are a bit different. I started alt-med after having already receive a science degree. I've been reading research papers for 20 plus years, and not just the abstracts. Since we are sharing, please consider a quick anecdote that has influenced my POV.
  • Male patient comes in after 10 years of medical intervention trying to get pregnant. Chief complaint is back pain. I do the history, standard exam, review all the standard medical testing (7 years of it). I then muscle test and find weak hamstrings bilaterally. One side cramps up. As calcium deficiency is a common cause of hamstring cramping, a review of his diet shows plenty of calcium, so ingestion is not the issue. I ask him about stomach problems -- indigestion common. He says the hamstring muscle cramps up easily. I find chewing zinc strengthens his hamstring and eliminates the cramping. I give him zinc, his back pain improves, and the kicker is his wife gets pregnant six weeks later. It took me two years to find out the science that explained why the zinc was right.
Anyway, back to WP policy. When I stated above "I wish I understood why you are so certain of what you are saying," I was looking for RS to support your POV. Anthon01 (talk) 10:55, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
?? You've lost me as well. The definition of pseudoscience implies that it is NOT falsifiable. And what goalpoasts? Guido den Broeder (talk) 16:22, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
The definition of pseudoscience does not imply a lack of falsifiability, though many pseudosciences make claims that certainly fall into this realm. Definitions actually focus on the lack of "scientific foundation" and the fallacious appearance of a sufficient scientific foundation. Moving the goalposts (which I notice needs an article or redirect) is a logical fallacy in which an argumentor refuses to accept evidence given in refutation of a claim, instead asserting that evidence against a newer (more "difficult") claim is needed to falsify the prior underlying stance. Here's a basic explanation. For specific links on research that has covered the scientific consensus on homeopathy, the "Medical and scientific analysis" section of this article has footnotes to relevant articles. — Scientizzle 19:45, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Very well put on several points. As regards homeopaths "moving the goalposts," a common one is the claim that homeopathy is not amenable to double blinding, since treatments are individualized, which is nonsense. It's just an excuse since avid and highly regarded homeopaths have made and participated in scientific experiments using standard homeopathic remedies that are sold and used by thousands of homeopaths all the time. No objections were made by homeopaths to the proposed research protocol before the research was performed. If it had turned out in their favor they would have accepted the results without appealing to individualization as a reason for why such an experiment is not valid for homeopathy. Once the results turn out against them, they then "move the goalposts" and refuse to accept the negative results. By repeatedly doing this, they end up making claims that are outside the pale of science, and are in the realm of metaphysics (religion). Metaphysical subjects are not falsifiable unless they also make falsifiable (measurable) claims. Therefore some forms of alternative medicine (like homeopathy) are both pseudoscientific and metaphysical. -- Fyslee / talk 06:58, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Cite? Please cite. Anthon01 (talk) 11:04, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Science evolves. Homeopaths believe their therapy works. But generally speaking, they aren't research scientists. So they may agree to a study's design and then after the results return unfavorably, look closer to find why the study doesn't conform to their homeopathy experience. One study isn't enough. Sometimes, the goalpost needs to be moved. Homeopathy should be amendable to double blind studies, but the research design need to reflect how homeopathy is practiced. Anthon01 (talk) 14:36, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Psychologists have a term for that too, confirmation bias. It is not very scientific to unquestionably accept results that agree with your hypothesis and apply greater scrutiny to those which reject it. Skepticism should be present all round. That's not to say that established scientists aren't guilty of confirmation bias at some point (even psychologists in confrimation bais research - knowing about it doesn't necessarily prevent it) but that's why science is set up the way it is. You declare the hypothesis and reserach method before conducting the experiment. The hypothesis should be precise enough so that there is a clear point at which the hypothesis will be rejected. This is designed to prevent problems such as confirmation bias, "moving the goalpoasts" etc. So what you describe is not "science evolving", it is an aberration of the scientific method.
So what do you want Fyslee to cite exactly? This page, Scientific method should support most of the claims about science. I would be interested in seeing the citation that demonstrates that homeopaths explicitly agreed to any research proposal beforehand but there must be some level of implicit agreement as they did agree to do the studies after all. JamesStewart7 (talk) 07:08, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't agree with you characterization of "moving the goalpoasts," but if you can provide a citation that explains that, I would reconsider. Confirmation bias or not the issue is simple trying to find the right research design that can adequately duplicate homeopathy as it is practiced. If homeopaths are arguing against designs that clearly reflect the way they practice then I would agree with the assertion that they are "moving the goalpost." The citation I was asking Fyslee for was to support his statements that '"it is pretty obvious that the significant claims of homeopathy are easily falsifiable," and "but it's been done enough times using high quality experiments to remove all doubt in those who are educated and understand science." Anthon01 (talk) 19:32, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

What's wrong with "considered scientifically implausible"...

...instead of "is implausible"?

In regards to this statement, I don't think we should be arguing about whether scientific data rejects or supports homeopathy's claims. We should be arguing about the proper style for the introductory paragraphs of an article about a disputed subject, contained in a medium (WP) that aspires to neutrality. Both scientists and vitalists have things to say about homeopathy, and this is homeopathy's article. Allow the reader to use their own intelligence. They will read that science roundly rejects homeopathy. And then they'll make their own decision about what they believe. For some particular readers, the logic behind vitalism may trump a resounding scientific rejection; for others, science will clearly win out. It's not up to WP to tell the reader what they should believe. Even many of those who already agree that homeopathy is scientifically implausible will be turned off to see that Wikipedia is declaring it to be the case, instead of noting how broadly among serious researchers it is considered to be the case.

I challenge anyone to find any respected encyclopedic treatment published that would use this language (especially in its opening introduction): "is scientifically implausible", rather than reporting that science / scientists (and whoever else) find it scientifically implausible. And there's a reason: serious, curious, interested people would eventually stop reading reading such a work; it taints its credibility. Even the introduction to the article cited in our article for this statement -- which is written by a scientist, with other scientists in mind! -- says "seems" implausible. Jeesh.

What's next, WP places a watermark "PSEUDOSCIENCE!" over any article considered a pseudoscience (out of concern for the idiots who read, instead of edit, Wikipedia?).

Overreaction can actually have an opposite effect, of leading people to take the (discredited) theory more seriously! (if the serious academics at WP are up in arms enough about something to get all holier-than-thou about it, then maybe there's actually something I should take more seriously). Come on, folks, science is not immune to dogmatism, especially in these days of culture-wars; and this seems to be an illustration of ideological bullying. Find the guy who has the flaw (non-support by scientific evidence; only limited support even among alternative med folks) and project all one's venom (about people who take alternative medicine at all seriously) on him.

It's a no-brainer: Wikipedia here is proclaiming that homeopathy is scientifically implausible, insulting proponents by its insistence (prideful) on language that, in normal publishing contexts, would be strictly that of an opinion-piece, not of a neutral reference -- not even a published science encyclopedia would use this language (let alone a mainstream encyclopedia). It is exactly the language of religious tract, and, in the minds of the mindless WP readers whose intelligence must be questioned because they are daring to wonder about alternative medicines in the first place readers of Wikipedia, Wikipedia's usefulness and bias-less-ness will be considered to suffer, not to be enriched. Dogmatic language is not user-friendly -- not for those looking to think for themselves. Neutral presentation takes work; everyone has biases that must be weeded out. Friarslantern (talk) 04:27, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

No wall of text or divination of new WP:GOBBLEDYGOOK policies will change the fact that homeopathy is, as a matter of objective fact, implausible, disproven, false, a lie, and practiced exclusively by con artists. This total lack of focus on what is ACTUALLY TRUE in favor of obedience to a subjective, contradictory, and not-all-that-great set of rules on a website is the fundamental flaw in Wikipedia. Randy Blackamoor (talk) 04:35, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
You've have been blocked for incivility before. Please stop your personal attacks. Consider this a warning. Anthon01 (talk) 11:38, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Having tested it for myself, I would disagree. —Whig (talk) 04:46, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
You should publish your results; the Nobel prize awaits! I'll be a coauthor if you need help -- (talk) 07:32, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
As one of only several million people who has successfully used homeopathic medicine, I should be awarded a Nobel prize? —Whig (talk) 08:11, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
That hardly counts as a valid test.Geni 15:15, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
You're wrong, and you should go away from this article. See how easy that is? Randy Blackamoor (talk) 04:55, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Randy, you may be trolling as usual, but this still deserves a reply, for those who read your words. Homeopathy is not, as an objective fact, disproven. In fact, there are millions of users around the world who will testify according to personal experience, that homeopathy is effective as a remedy. It is incontrovertible that the science behind homeopathy is unproven, but that does not mean that proof will not eventually come. Lack of proof is not proof of lack. It is uncontrovertible that most scientists consider homeopathy to be a placebo effect, ineffective and unproven, but that is not what this comment is about - it is about WP:NPOV being maintained in the face of intractible POV editors of the "science alone" school. Practitioners of homeopathy are, for the most part, like their medical colleagues, honest, upstanding and honourable people. docboat (talk) 05:43, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I was going to say that the honesty and sincerity of homeopathic practitioners had nothing to do with whether homeopathy works, but I realized I was wrong. Raymond Arritt (talk) 06:02, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh yes - bed-side manner is a hugely effective tool for increasing (or decreasing) the efficacy of a placebo effect. docboat (talk) 11:07, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
"This is homeopathy's article" -- well, actually it isn't. Raymond Arritt (talk) 04:47, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Well actually it is, Raymond. If you want an anti-homeopathy article, you should write it. Oh - you have! </g> —Preceding unsigned comment added by Docboat (talkcontribs) 05:30, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
This is an article about the subject of homeopathy, not just about homeopathy. Most everything about the subject, its claims, it effects, its side effects, its controversies, its friends, its critics, etc.., should be included as long as they are notable, written encylcopedically, and well-sourced. -- Fyslee / talk 06:30, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Can all of you spend a moment looking up the definition of "implausible" before throwing a fit over it? That word you keep using, I don't think it means what you think it does. Adam Cuerden talk 06:50, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Is empiricism unscientific? —Whig (talk) 08:16, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Wha? Shot info (talk) 08:21, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

If you look at the sum of scientific knowledge and you look at homeopathy, it is just plain hard to make them fit together. They don't necessarily contradict each other in a strictly logical sense, but they don't have much if any common ground. This is what I call "implausible", and try as I might, I can't think of any more accurate or more neutral word to describe this, even though plausibility always has a large subjective element that I would rather avoid. I think homeopaths should be able to accept this description. "It works, but it's unlike anything else we know. Ain't that strange/wonderful/revolutionary?" On the other hand, if "is implausible" is perceived as derogatory (It's hard to keep count, but there seem to be a number of editors of this opinion.), then I am in favor of "seems" or "is considered", since the difference in meaning is insignificant.

Another way out of the dispute might be to simply cut to the chase. Although there are a lot of things that can be criticized about homeopathy, the only one that solidly qualifies as implausible is the notion that substances that are identical at the molecular level can have significantly different biological effects. Maybe we can find a formulation that jumps over the term "implausible" and talks immediately about all solidly verified known effects being mediated by molecules. --Art Carlson (talk) 10:29, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

What does "substances that are identical at the molecular level can have significantly different biological effects" mean? Anthon01 (talk) 11:56, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
One of the weaknesses of my argument is that it is a bit hard to define precisely once you start looking for exceptions and borderline cases. "Identical atoms" won't cut it because table salt has rather different effects than a mix of sodium metal and chlorine gas. Even identical molecules in the sense of the covalent bonds between atoms isn't enough because of protein folding effects like mad cow disease. In the solid state, you can also go up in scale and build things from identical molecules. The medical consequences of swallowing a BB and swallowing a needle are vastly different, even if they have the same chemical composition. Likewise a cloud scatters light orders of magnitude more effectively than supersaturated moist air of the same composition. It would be a bit easier if we could limit ourselves to liquid water, but we want to say something about alcohol and sugar at the same time. If you look at all these examples, not a one really calls the implausibility of homeopathy into question, but they make it hard to find a precisely accurate formulation. Maybe it's not that important, since whatever we say, we will immediately explain it anyway. --Art Carlson (talk) 12:40, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
"if "is implausible" is perceived as derogatory (It's hard to keep count, but there seem to be a number of editors of this opinion.), then I am in favor of "seems" or "is considered", since the difference in meaning is insignificant" I'm not of this opinion. Should we change statements like "The earth is spherical" because the Flat Earth Society finds them derogatory? Wikipedia is not censored. It really doesn't matter how offensive people find it, if it can be established as factual. We should not bend to pressure or persistance. We should bend only to reason. Otherwise we may end up with an unfair and unsatisfactory solution as a result of a compromise towards an extreme position. I will be quite happy to accept the word "seems" or "is" or any other "replacement" if anyone can convince me that this is a fair and reasonable solution. with respect to an objective standard. Objective standards should be easy to establish in this case. We have an ArbCom ruling on pseudoscience, we have WP:FRINGE, and we have the precedent set by the other articles. I believe all three of these objective standards suggest that "is implausible" is the most reasonable wording. Scientific consensus statements have been posted and several meta-analyses are included in the article. This should satisfy the the requirements for the Arbcom pseudoscience ruling that states that theories with a following which are widely regarded as pseudoscience may be characterized as such. WP:FRINGE states that "Ideas that have been rejected, are widely considered to be absurd or pseudoscientific, only of historical interest, or primarily the realm of science fiction, should be documented as such, using reliable sources." Homeopathy was acknolwedged to be implausible in the Lancet review. Other wikipedia articles such as the article on Earth state articles of fact with the term "is" as opposed to seem to "The Earth's shape is very close to an oblate spheroid". So there seem to be three objective standards that suggest "is", is the appropriate term if it can be established that there is a scientific consensus that homeopathy is implausible. I believe there are sufficient references to establish such a consensus. Friarslantern argues that "is" should not be used on style grounds. However, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't consistency throughout the encyoclopedia important to the reputability and professionality of wikipedia and don't the other articles use the term "is"? Also if anyone believes that there is a more fair objective standard than the aforementioned wikipedia guildlines or the ArbCom ruling, please state it. JamesStewart7 (talk) 13:07, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree that not hurting feelings should take a back seat to objective standards. Let's look at your proposed standards:
  • ArbCom ruling on pseudoscience, "Theories which have a following, such as astrology, but which are generally considered pseudoscience by the scientific community may properly contain that information and may be categorized as pseudoscience.": I'm not sure that homeopathy is entirely in the same category as astrology, but even if homeopathy is properly classified as pseudoscience, that doesn't automatically mean it "is implausible". Fine-tuned Universe and Polywater are both classified as pseudophysics, although they are not physically implausible in the sense that homeopathy is.
  • WP:FRINGE#Reporting on the levels of acceptance: The authors of the Lancet article claim that homeopathy "seems implausible". We also have the 12 professors saying homeopathy "is an implausible treatment" in a letter to the The Lancet and the Times themselves do not claim anything, either as fact or as editorial opinion. Nor does either group of authors claim directly that homeopathy is "widely considered" to be implausible. I'm not sure if these sources are strong enough to justify a statement of implausibility as a fact, as opposed to an attributed opinion.
  • the precedent set by the other articles: The analogy to the flat earth is rather far-fetched. The evidence against homeopathy and the rejection of it in the scientific community are miles away from the evidence against and rejection of a flat Earth.
I find your arguments for insisting on "is implausible" to be not entirely compelling. --Art Carlson (talk) 14:29, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Fair points. I was under the impression that the Lancet article used "is" earlier. I rechecked it and it does say "seems". On revew, "seems implausisble" does correspond with the reference but it does seem a little redundant. Of course, the authors of the Lancet review probably didn't pay as much attention to the insertion of one word as everyone is here. defines implausble as "not having the appearance of truth or credibility" and defines seems as "To give the impression of being; appear". So seems "implausible" would mean "appears to not have the appearance of truth or credibility". So I guess I now also agree with you on the point that the difference is insignificant. However, I have to question what is the reason for making this change. If "seems implausible" means the same thing as "implausible" but with greater redundancy then why should we change it? I think many readers are inclined to interpret phrases with identical meanings differently (see pragmatics). For example "many, many" is often taken to be a greater number than just "many". Similarly "seems implausbile" may be taken as more uncertain than "implausible". I believe this is the reason for the push towards "seems implausible"; to make the statement seem more uncertain than it is and I think everyone needs to take pragmatics into account. After all is "seems implausible" is not perceived as any different to "implausible" why would anyone want it changed? JamesStewart7 (talk) 03:45, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Maybe the most directly applicable indication of policy is the demarcation in the ArbCom ruling between Astrology ("may be categorized as pseudoscience") and Psychoanalysis ("generally should not be so characterized"). I think homeopathy has more in common with psychoanalysis than with astrology, but that can be discussed here. It is interesting to note that psychoanalysis is called pseudoscience by a prominent critic (Karl Popper) and the article cites a statement (Cioffi, 1998) that "an increasing number of scientists regard psychoanalysis as a pseudoscience". The citations we have found calling homeopathy pseudoscience are neither from very notable scientists nor do they make a generalized statement about how widespread that belief is. If we take the ArbCom ruling as our touchstone, it is hard to see why homeopathy should be classified as pseudoscience while psychoanalysis is not. --Art Carlson (talk) 12:24, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
It is too bad that ArbCom were not more clear with their criteria for calling something pseudoscience. Anyway this is what we have,
"Theories which have a substantial following, such as psychoanalysis, but which some critics allege to be pseudoscience, may contain information to that effect, but generally should not be so characterized."
"Theories which have a following, such as astrology, but which are generally considered pseudoscience by the scientific community may properly contain that information and may be categorized as pseudoscience"
Anyway I guess the key differences are "substantial following" vs "following" and "some critics" vs "generally considered by the scientific community". Seeing as 31% of American's believe in astrology, according to the article, I don't think we can read too much into the "substantial following" vs "following difference" so it is left to a matter of assessing the level of scientific consensus about whether homeopathy is pseudoscience. Problematically, the term "pseudoscience" is a rare term to see in a peer reviewed journal for style reasons so we may have to turn to other sources. Although, it may be worth noting that none of the reviews of homeopathy concluded evidence of a specific effect.
This is probably the most comprehensive source for astrology as pseudoscience listed in the article [4] and astrology did attract attention from Hawking [5] and Dawkins [6]. Of course Dawkins doesn't speak very highly of homeopathy either, [7]. Anyway a lot of the articles cited here, [8], seem to be general critiques of the topic, that do not necessarily use the term pseudoscience. So it appears that widespread scientific doubt, along with some allegations of pseudoscience are the required criteria. Who thinks we can establish this? Maybe the approach Nature took such as with this article [9] and their disclaimer "Editorial reservation: Readers of this article may share the incredulity of the many referees. . . There is no physical basis for such an activity. . . Nature has therefore arranged for independent investigators to observe repetitions of the experiments." can give some weight to the notion that scientists commonly consider homeopathy pseudoscience, given the prominence of the journal. JamesStewart7 (talk) 12:49, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
The phrase "Readers of this article may share the incredulity" is about as limp as a dishrag for establishing that homeopathy is "generally considered pseudoscience by the scientific community". On the related front of implausibility, the form "no physical basis" gives us another option for that troublesome statement. --Art Carlson (talk) 13:33, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

There are very important reasons for greater NPOV precision in the choice of words in a controversial article like this:

(1) The current wording makes it appear as an absolute statement of fact, and makes it appear as if the article, and by extension Wikipedia, is making critical POV statements against homeopathy. By clarifying who is making the statement, that changes it from a biased POV sentence to a NPOV sentence that is merely reporting on current mainstream scietific opinion.

(2) The use of "current" rather than "modern" makes it more of a statement of what the knowledge is, rather than subtlely implying that homeopathy belongs in the realm of "outdated" (not-modern) knowledge.

I think "current" sounds too much like it's just the fashion of the month, but I understand that you think "modern" carries more than just a temporal connotation (although it might be justified in this case to indirectly call homeopathy outdated). What do you think of "contemporary pharmaceutical knowledge"? --Art Carlson (talk) 12:10, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

The sentence:

The ideas of homeopathy are scientifically implausible[1] and directly opposed to modern pharmaceutical knowledge.[2]

would be better phrased:

Mainstream science considers the ideas of homeopathy to be scientifically implausible[1] and directly opposed to current pharmaceutical knowledge.[3]

As Docboat stated so well: "Homeopathy is not, as an objective fact, disproven. In fact, there are millions of users around the world who will testify according to personal experience, that homeopathy is effective as a remedy. It is incontrovertible that the science behind homeopathy is unproven, but that does not mean that proof will not eventually come. Lack of proof is not proof of lack." Arion 3x3 (talk) 13:34, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

It would seem you are describing the placebo effect while invoking public opinion to substantiate a certain position. Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 14:36, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
(ec) That idea sounds good until you actually think about it. It's "unproven" that Jupiter lacks a tasty caramel center, or that in the Hindu Kush there's a colony who escaped from the moon. And the proof of either will never come. Raymond Arritt (talk) 14:42, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Ridiculous comments like that will not move us forward to improving this article to NPOV standards. I was pointing out that controversial statements (in any article) should be clear as to the source of those statements. Otherwise, it may appear as if this article, and by extension Wikipedia, is making critical POV statements against homeopathy. Arion 3x3 (talk) 14:47, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Homeopathy gets its say in the first two paragraphs. The third paragraph is the scientific view, and it gets to state exactly what that view is, and should be free of WP:Weasel words such as you suggest. WP:NPOV/FAQ#Pseudoscience is very clear on this. Adam Cuerden talk 15:16, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Sourcing statements that make controversial claims does not fall under WP:Weasel words. I would point out that your link to WP:NPOV/FAQ#Pseudoscience has the following statement:

Questionable science: Theories which have a substantial following, such as psychoanalysis, but which some critics allege to be pseudoscience, may contain information to that effect, but generally should not be so characterized.

Calling homeopathy a pseudoscience repeatedly does not make that label any more true. However in the words quoted above, it could be termed a theory which has "a substantial following". Arion 3x3 (talk) 15:35, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

By your logic of "substantial following", creationism is science. Adam Cuerden talk 15:43, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

"on such pages,(homeopathy for ex.) though a view may be spelled out in great detail, it must make appropriate reference to the majority viewpoint" this the only rational approach.It is according to the rules as well. --Moon22 (talk) 17:06, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

(1) The logic of "substantial following" is not mine, but that of the link Adam Cuerden provided.
(2) There is no shortage of "reference to the majority viewpoint" in this homeopathy article - that is not the issue being discussed.
I offered a concrete suggestion to make the wording in the article more precise. In response, I got comments about a "tasty caramel center" on Jupiter and creationism! Arion 3x3 (talk) 18:17, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
"Mainstream science considers the ideas of homeopathy to be scientifically implausible" sounds OK to me. I think it is accurate.--Moon22 (talk) 19:09, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Isn't that kind of redundant? Adam Cuerden talk 19:14, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
"Mainstream science considers homeopathy to be scientifically implausible" sounds better than what is currently there. In fact, Adam, some people consider it to be plausible, hence the modifier, "mainstream." Anthon01 (talk) 21:10, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
The term "mainstream science" bothers me somewhat. It implies there is such a thing as non-mainstream science that may consider homeopathy to be plausible. So can someone please explain to me what this non-mainstream (fringe?) science is and how it is considered science? JamesStewart7 (talk) 03:45, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Point taken. Plausibility is not a term owned by science. We need to find an acceptable qualifier. Anthon01 (talk) 13:50, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I have to agree with Adam here. The scientific view is that homeopathy is implausible, to to state this in a watered down way is clearly trying to put a spin on the impartial scientific view. Lots of things are implausible but true, so please don't get so worked up about this statement of fact. I also find the oxymoron "homeopathic science" hilarious. That editor needs a humour barnstar! -- (talk) 21:46, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

What do y'all think of avoiding the word "implausible" and saying something like "seems to contradict scientific knowledge" or "appears to be inconsistent with known laws of nature"? --Art Carlson (talk) 12:04, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

You can avoid some words/issues here by saying 'Most scientists regard homeopathy as implausible.' That way you don't need mainstream or fringe. Fact is if some scientists do accept it, they are sure not mainstream. In truth, there are just scientists NOT 'science' as such which is more an abstract concept. my ten penn'orth FWIW Peter morrell —Preceding comment was added at 14:35, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I think that's a good sentence. The use of homeopathy is growing even among physicians despite the lack of scientific evidence in it's favor. I think physicians count as scientist. Anthon01 (talk) 14:57, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
With all due respect for physicians, and despite the fact that they have much more scientific training than most people, they don't count as scientists in my book. --Art Carlson (talk) 15:35, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

In which case, why bother with SPOV re this article? what you are saying is that medicine is not a science. I agree. It is not even 50% science. However, it is closely allied to science, esp. chemistry, and actually I think physicians are pretty well steeped in science these days. Can you explain your quibble Art? thanks Peter morrell 15:50, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I didn't mean to be quibbling. I wanted to distinguish between the science of medicine and the practice of medicine. The ones who are qualified to judge the scientific plausibility of homeopathy are the scientists, not the practitioners. I'm not sure if Anthon01 intended his statement to somehow be in support of the "most scientists" wording. It sounds like he is casting toward a "most scientists don't but many physicians do" wording, which would be of questionable truth and relevance both. --Art Carlson (talk) 18:13, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Warning to rational people on this page

Discussion unrelated to article has been archived. Tim Vickers (talk) 00:05, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

This discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Some of the flat-earthers on this page are impersonating administrators and going around putting warnings for "civility" on the page of anyone who point out the fact that homeopathy is a lie. As usual, be prepared for a long and stupid fight with people who believe in magic if you want to make this page better. Randy Blackamoor (talk) 19:33, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

These kinds of comments have no place on an article talk space. Please consider WP:TALK (specifically WP:TALK#Behavior_that_is_unacceptable) and then also consider removing this section. Thanks. -- Levine2112 discuss 19:36, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Shocking, another member of "project: alternative medicine" with a history of pro-magic edits is mysteriously offended by my pro-fact comments on this page. What a coincidence! Randy Blackamoor (talk) 19:38, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

I am not offended by your pro-fact comments, though please consider WP:V: The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. I am kindly asking you to refrain from making ad hominem attacks against your fellow editors. I am not pro-magic (though David Blaine is pretty cool) nor do my edits reflect that. I am pro-civility. Please try to respect WP:CIVIL but feel free to vehemently disagree with my position on information for an article, just please do so in a civil manner. That's all. -- Levine2112 discuss 19:44, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

I am an administrator, and certainly not an advocate of alternative medicine, but I can assure you Randy that if you continue to make these aggressive and unproductive posts, you will be blocked from editing. Please comment on the text, not other editors. Tim Vickers (talk) 19:50, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Look at it from the point of view of self-interest: you don't want to have the facts on your side and then have the pseudoscience types prevail because you get blocked for incivility. It's a pain that incivility is penalized while disinformation is entirely permissible. But we can't do anything about that. Raymond Arritt (talk) 20:21, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Sure we can: we can get our information from accurate sources written by experts, not from random websites written by whatever agenda-mongering anime fans happen on by, like this one. Randy Blackamoor (talk) 20:22, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
The point is that we can all present both (or more) sides of this topic if we resolve to use reliable sources and work together with civility. Wikipedia is not a scientific resource. It is an information resource. It is not a collection of facts. It is a collection of verifiable information. This means that there is room to present all notable POVs which are documented by a WP:RS, no matter how grotesque or absurd or offensive you and anyone else deems them to be. I know it can be frustrating, but please consider WP:NPOV. It will help. -- Levine2112 discuss 20:48, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Randy, I do not think homeopathy has any scientific basis, but I totally disagree with your approach to editing this article. Your hostility has been apparent from the beginning and it is completely counter productive to your apparent goals. Or is it possible you are only here to offend people rather than actually trying to improve the article? Certainly you are on your way to being blocked again if you do become more collegial. David D. (Talk) 20:54, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

[wikiepdias NPOV] and is a n important saspect of the comunity and in your zeal to atack homeopathic science you may have accidentaly oberlooked it. i ask tha yyou go back and read the plices mentioned abovetha dotm make sure that you udnertand the purpose of this website sand why you cant just go aroudn assuming abd faith babout everoyne and tring to destroy andy article covering a subject thay ou like. if you ened any more help you can always reread the wikipedia terms and policies. Smith Jones (talk) 20:57, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
hbaba dbvba dbboo hruasff dhreufff asmihqa dfheawp humma mumma? Randy Blackamoor (talk) 21:47, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
I think that was not very helpful and seems like it may violate WP:NPA. —Whig (talk) 23:24, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
While the point could have been made more tactfully it certainly quite a chore to decipher Smith Jones's messages. Note that on his user page Smith Jones states he's a member of the League of Copyeditors, so one presumes he's capable of doing better but can't be bothered. Raymond Arritt (talk) 23:36, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
just because si work for hte league of copyeditors doesn t maen that i am some sort of grammer nazi in a informatl conversation i dont want to take the time to tpye extraslow, espeically simnce my keyboard is prone to sticking and it takes a lto fo keystrokes to actually get out my text. randy blackamoors comment was comeptlely uncalled for and absolutely uncessary, and directly a personal attack. there areother ways to express disatisfaction with another editor and none of them invovled the kind of personal attacks and spam that user; blackamoor is currently suspected of inmy Wikiquette report.
perhaps it would be beter for all of us if we stoped focusing on ym typing and pay atention to improveing this article, which has deteriorated to the point that its' been protected from editing because the admisn no longer trust us to avoid edit waring over it.s perhaps it would be better if we worked on making it better by limiting the amount of extremis anti-scientific tracrts being pooped out on the article. that is my recommendation and i am stickign to it, regardless of what User: Blackmoor thinks of my spelling. Smith Jones (talk) 23:59, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
Did you just accuse me of being a spammer? That's a dreadful violation of the No Personal Attacks and Assume Good Faith policies. I'll be reporting this to the appropriate pages. Randy Blackamoor (talk) 00:01, 12 January 2008 (UTC)


"none of them invovled the kind of personal attacks and spam that user; blackamoor is currently suspected of"

I have not put any "spam" on this or any other page. No one has "suspected" or accused me of doing so, because it has not happened. These violations of WP:AGF and WP:NPA should be dealt with appropriately.

Acute rhinosinusitis

Here is a recent study published in a peer-reviewed journal. German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery.

[Homeopathy in acute rhinosinusitis: a double-blind, placebo controlled study shows the efficiency and tolerability of a homeopathic combination remedy HNO. 2007 Apr;55(4):271-7.

BACKGROUND: The efficacy and tolerability of a homeopathic combination remedy for the treatment of acute rhinosinusitis was investigated. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A total of 144 patients with acute rhinosinusitis were treated in a randomized, double-blind study either with a homeopathic remedy (n=72) or placebo (n=72). At the control examinations after 7, 14 and 21 days, five sinusitis-typical symptoms were measured with scores from 0 (absent) to 4 (very strong). The change of sum score of the sinusitis-typical symptoms (max. 20 points) during the treatment served as the primary efficacy criterion. RESULTS: In the homeopathic treatment group, the average sum score dropped from initially 12.1+/-1.6 to 5.9+/-2.0 points after 7 days. In the placebo group it decreased from 11.7+/-1.6 to 11.0+/-2.9 points (p<0.0001). The homeopathic treatment resulted in freedom from complaints in 90.3% of the patients and improvement in a further 8.3%, whereas in the placebo group, the complaints remained unchanged or became worse in 88.9% of the patients. Only one adverse event occurred in one patient from the placebo group. CONCLUSION: The homeopathic product allows an effective and tolerable treatment of acute rhinosinusitis.

Perhaps someone is familiar with this journal. I think it is German. Anthon01 (talk) 00:41, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I cannot read or speak German, so even if I had run across this journal before, I probably wouldn't remember...but I'd really like to read a translation, if only 'cause I'm amazed the the placebo control group had no improvement, considering that acute rhinosinusitis (sinus infection) is one of those illnesses from which almost everyone recovers completely, without any treatment, within a couple of weeks, and most will show steady improvement after the first couple of days[10]...that sets off a few alarm bells for me, personally, though that would clearly be limited OR. I also can't figure out (Babelfish is very limiting) the in-trial exclusion criteria that led to only 7 of 72 control patients completing the trial (opposed to 61 of 72 verum-treated). Very odd. — Scientizzle 01:13, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
7 of 72 completed the trial? Where did you get that info? Did you find a full text copy? Anthon01 (talk) 04:11, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Yeah. My institution allows access to this journal. I can email the .pdf to anyone (probably tomorrow at the earliest) if you like. — Scientizzle 04:20, 12 January 2008 (UTC
Thanks for the offer. Look like my institution does the same. I'll have to verify tomorrow. I will let you know if I need a copy. Anthon01 (talk) 05:40, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
unles someoene can vind a reason to think that tiehs joruanl is bogus then ais think this this serves as absolute proof of the exitensece of and powe of homeoapthy. Smith Jones (talk) 03:10, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Smith Jones, you can't be serious. One study cannot serve as "absolute proof" of anything. Neither would one study absolutely disprove anything. Only through careful weighing of the entire scientific literature on a subject can the development of a scientific consensus occur. In one of the primary Cochrane reviews of homeopathy, the authors analyzed almost 600 different studies and threw out all but about one dozen because there were obvious methodological flaws (if I remember the numbers correctly). This study, ultimately weighted by the soundness of its methodology and the ability to reproduce these results, will become a part of that literature. From it, future work can be designed, methodologies tightened, and hypotheses tested that will better determine if this is a true effect. — Scientizzle 04:17, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
i apoologoze for my shit phrasing of the last post. wot i maeant was whether or not this source wwas absolutely valid ad can be be used as a real source on wikipedia as one of the evidences put foerht by homeopathic physicians to support their sciencific prinviples. Smith Jones (talk) 04:33, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
We need the full report. Not all double-blind RCTs are actually double blind RCTs. Unless we know things like drop out rates, randomization procedures, success of blinding etc etc we cannot know how reliable the results are. JamesStewart7 (talk) 03:50, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I got the full text, and have the language skills to read it, but I'm not sure my medical knowledge is good enough to properly evaluate it. (It's not relevant to the Wikipedia article anyway, since it's a primary source.) The first thing I notice is that one author is from Weil der Stadt, a German town of 20,000, and the other is from Kiev, where the study was carried out. The study started with 72 in each group. 54 dropped out of the placebo group after 7 days due to "anhaltende Beschwerden" (persistent symptoms), another 9 after 14 days. Only one patient dropped out of the verum group. The data of these patients was included in the final analysis with the "Lastobservation-carried-forward-Methode" (LOCF). The study is desccribed as multi-center, double blind, placebo controlled, and GCP conform, but I didn't see any indication about how the patients were assigned to the groups or how the blinding was carried out. I agree it is at least very suspicious that the sum of the sinusitis typical symptoms in the placebo group sank only from 11.7 to 10.6 over 21 days. The values in the verum group sank from 12.1 to 0.3 in the same period, more consistent with what I would expect from doing nothing. --Art Carlson (talk) 12:00, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Art. That does help clarify the situation for me. I'll take this study with a huge grain of salt (undiluted, please) until there's some indication of proper blinding or demonstrable repetition... — Scientizzle 18:09, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Regarding "It's not relevant to the Wikipedia article anyway, since it's a primary source," can you please explain the policy to me? Anthon01 (talk) 16:24, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
The policy says "Wikipedia articles should rely on reliable, published secondary sources." (my emphasis) I said it already here, and JamesStewart7 did a good good of explaining it in the second paragraph of this edit. --Art Carlson (talk) 18:27, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
This reminds me of the standard joke about homeopathy, here told in an article:
  • "Many people swear by homeopathy. It is a popular dinner party topic of the Hampstead set, of which I am a member. My friends - otherwise educated, cultured people - say it can help them recover from a cold in just seven days. Yes, I reply, and left alone it would take a whole week." - Source: Homeopathy is worse than witchcraft - and the NHS must stop paying for it
-- Fyslee / talk 05:30, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Funny, I think? We are still getting to know each other, so please pardon the following question. I take it you don't mean this as a refutation of the study, is that correct? Anthon01 (talk) 05:36, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Definitely only a joke and an example of common skeptical thinking about homeopathy. Nothing to do with any refutation of the study. The study results are so radically different from other studies, and are so unusual, that it would need to be reproduced (positively) under very strict conditions for most scientists and skeptics to believe it. It falls under the "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" class of studies. While in principle replication of studies is nearly always a good idea before banking on them, studies with such unusual results need very strictly controlled replication to be certain no confounding variables are involved. Only then would it be responsible for anyone - believer or skeptic - to consider it a trustworthy result. -- Fyslee / talk 06:07, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
My opinion is these kinds of jokes don't really add to the conversation here. —Whig (talk) 06:34, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
it hink that per wikiepedia's policy of Assume Good Faith we should asume that the German experiment is not fruadulent. Smith Jones (talk) 15:33, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Assume good faith applies to editors, not to sources. We need to evaluate if the source is reliable. In any case - they had 63 people in the control group drop out, and included them in the study using last observation carried forward. As I read that, that means that they took the last observation of them, and presumed they would have been the same at the end of the study.
That right there would explain any and all difference between the results for a self-limiting condition. Adam Cuerden talk 16:13, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
but its posible that the the homeoapthic technique was more effecitve than the placebo (and, presumably ,re efeective than the allopathic drug regimen). in any cas, i think that hte source is valid as evidence that a homopathic physician might put forth as evidence that he might put foth of his claims. it doesnt PROVE that heomopathic science is real, but its a notable study relating to that matter and should be discussed in the article, mentoning its results and the criticismf of scientific invalidity mentioend on this talk page. Smith Jones (talk) 17:13, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
It's certainly possible that the homeopathic remedy worked better than placebo, but it's truly difficult to tell from this study: German is not something I can translate on my own, though I found plenty of curiosities within the terrible automated translation I did of the methods section. I'm serious, after such a cursory examination of the results, when I say that I would be skeptical of true worth of the study, no matter the treatment investigated. Pfizer would probably be laughed out of the FDA offices if they offered as clinical proof a trial in which 90% of the placebo group mysteriously disappeared!
This brings up an important point of which you, Smith Jones, may not be aware. Just because a study is published, even in journals of merit, doesn't mean that the results are worth anything. The story of Jacques Benveniste is highly relevant here as an example of ways in which research needed to be repeated in order to reveal the subtle biases that shaped the results towards an erroneous conclusion. On the other end of the spectrum are out-and-out frauds, like Hwang Woo-Suk. Following the fallible peer review step, the publication step is really only a midpoint, not an endpoint, in the progress of a scientific discipline. As I stated above, this study will likely inform future studies through which we can more confidently answer whether this particular remedy, at this particular dilution, given at this particular dose, aiming to treat this particular ailment, in these type of people, is in fact an effective treatment. — Scientizzle 18:04, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Smith Jones, what people are commenting on here is the fact that the placebo group did so poorly. It is totally out of line with how people usually recover. As a result of this, people call into question the study's conclusions, not because they don't believe that homeopathy works, but because the failure of the placebo group to get any better is indicative of extremely poor study design/misreporting outcomes/fraud/etc. Antelan talk 17:41, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
thats not a fair assumption because te placebo group may have been on poor health of perhaps acute rhinisitis, which sounds like a fiarly serious medical condition, may have effected these people moore severely than it usually did.the reactions of people on a PLACEBO should not automatically invaidate homeopathy. Smith Jones (talk) 17:54, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
It's essential that such an experiment uses two comparable groups. If the placebo group was in poorer health than the others, then it's obvious that it wasn't a properly controlled experiment. Raymond Arritt (talk) 18:52, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
One of the authors has a website in German here, and here is the abstract of another paper published by him. The abstract reads "This paper describes the use of these individual homeopathic remedies in some detail and gives hints to help parents treat their children themselves with the alternative homeopathic remedies available. Complications are very rare." He also says that "the antibiotic treatment usually prescribed for children with middle ear infections is not evidence based." What does that mean? I think this gay is full of SHIT. I wonder if it would be appropriate to ask him about his work. (talk) 20:46, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't really know what to do with the info, but I find it interesting that he claims on his web site that his homeopathy is "classic", but he also recommends a particular sequence of Belladonna D30 followed by Mercurius solubilis D12 for scarlet fever (strep throat?), i.e. he claims to be able to choose an effective remedy on the basis of a clinical diagnosis without even seeing the patient. Peter Morrell claims such practice is rare, but I am not convinced of that. BTW, there is no point in contacting him because he is not a notable authority and personal correspondence is not verifiable. --Art Carlson (talk) 21:43, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Scarlet fever is a step beyond strep throat, occuring if the infection doesn't clear up and spreads betond the pharynx. It's more dangerous than just a throat infection, and can progress into rheumatic fever, which is even worse and more deadly. <soapbox rant>If you're an adult and you've got arthritis or a headache or the common cold or bunions or other non-life-threatening disease, by all means, take whatever remedies you think will benefit you. However, if you've got a kid with a progressing bacterial infection, please get him or her to a doctor and get cultures for antibiotic and anti-inflammatory treatment.</soapbox rant> — Scientizzle 02:27, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I wasn't sure how to translate "Scharlach". German Wikipedia links it to Scarlet fever, which is also how translates it. But my impression from living in both both countries is that Scharlach is a common and relatively minor thing in Germany, like strep throat is in the USA. --Art Carlson (talk) 09:02, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
eperahps different metholdoiges exis tfor the same homeoapthic treatmet. i remember one homeopathic physicians who used a cerirna forumla to cure a disease which was not documented until he had completedhis proving. Smith Jones (talk) 21:53, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Is there a verson of this paper translated into English by a medical /scientific translator available? I can get high level comment by Head and Neck people at professorial and research levels if needed. My first thoughts are that the implications are limited - I would be keen to know who did the initial diagnosies, age groups, subjects prior experience or beliefs in homeo and a few other things. The study is also limited due to only looking at placebo and homeo, a better study would have included conventional treatments both recomended (evidence based) and marginal(less evidence) as well as a no treatment group and included any evidence of the self limiting nature of any or all of the symptoms.Tim O'Leary (talk) 04:49, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
I just noticed that the placebo group dropped from 72 to 63 people before the study was over. In my book this means there was no study to report, hoever until I can read the original paper it's all a bit waffly.Tim O'Leary (talk) 04:55, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
The placebo group dropped from 72 to 7 at the end of the study. — Scientizzle 01:53, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
We could say the study was incomplete. This study doesn't convince me but it makes me curious, in that the control group symptoms worsened to the point where most of them could not complete the study. All participants were screened with imaging. The objective of the study was to review the sinusitis symptoms in control and experimental groups, after 7 days. Participant selection was made by symptoms and imaging of the sinuses. I can put a translated 'text-only' copy of the study on wikipedia if that is acceptable, temporarily on my talk page if that's ok? A study that isolates homeopathy alone are helpful, in that they help to define where homeopathy might work in greater degrees that placebo. The three group studies you are defining are more expensive and answer a different question. I agree with all your points except the "no study to report" one. Failure is also helpful in that it helps to define future study parameters. THeir prior beliefs don't matter if patients are adequately blinded. --Anthon01 (talk) 22:32, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
People routinely drop out of studies. What I would want to know is (1) do the dropouts have similar characteristics to those who didn't drop out, and (2) was the dropout rate substantially different between placebo and nonplacebo? Antelan talk 22:35, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
You mean pre-study characteristics? Only one dropped out in the experimental group. Anthon01 (talk) 22:50, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I'm talking about the characteristics at the beginning of the trial (obviously not at the end, which is when you hope for a difference). 9 people dropping out of the placebo group vs 1 person dropping out of the experimental group in such a small sample size is noteworthy. Did they explain why they thought this happened? Antelan talk 01:43, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
The placebo group lost 65 of 72 by the end of the study, 9 were lost from the verum group. — Scientizzle 01:53, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Hah... ahah. Oh my. I've got better stuff sitting around my bedroom floor. Why are we even talking about this? Antelan talk 02:03, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
To answer your question, because their symptoms were not abating. Anthon01 (talk) 03:06, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Tha fact that 64 out of 72 from the placebo group dropped out and only 9 of the treatment group dropped out would make the average seeker of wisdom (and certainly Ockam) wonder if perhaps <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="">the blind wasn't tight and that either the treaters or the treatees or the placebo-ites (or all three)had some knowledge of what was what in the study water bottles.Tim O'Leary (talk) 13:43, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Or the verum worked. Anthon01 (talk) 13:51, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
You haven't caught on yet. The hypothesis that the verum simply worked is indeed internally consistent with the results of the study. The problem is that we also know from sources external to the study that a cold usually goes away in a week or so. Since that wasn't the case with the placebo group, something was screwy. We don't know what, but we know that something went wrong and therefore we can draw no conclusion, either positive or negative, from the study. Put more simply, it's not that it looks like the verum made the patients better, it looks like the placebo made them sicker. --Art Carlson (talk) 14:32, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I got that when I first read the article. Bacterial rhinosinusitis doesn't resolve on its own, and requires antibiotics. 5 days of no improvement or worsening symptoms lends itself to Bacterial rhinosinusitis. Unfortunately, I am reading from a poorly translated copy and can't tell if the screening included WBC counts. Both interpretations are viable. Anthon01 (talk) 16:32, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
From the article, "no improvements were noted in 1.4% of patients in homeopathy group, as opposed to 70.8% of patients in the placebo group." So 29.2% of placebo showed improvement. "In the placebo group, 54 patients dropped out of the study due to persistent complaints after 7 days, another 9 after 14 days." I emailed the author and he says that the large number of dropouts occur because everyone wants an antibiotic. Anthon01 (talk) 18:13, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I have caught on from the start that the conclusion was reasonably internally consistent. I come from a background where such a large dropout rate would lead to questioning study design and methodology rather than drawing conclusions about efficacy. I think that is also what you are saying. Anyway I didn't come here for an argument. If I'd wanted an argument I would have gone to Talk:High_fidelity or Talk:ScientologyTim O'Leary (talk) 22:17, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm sorry you took it as fighting words. I was hoping for a discussion. I was simply providing the another POV regarding the study. IMO, the study design didn't consider that participants with an acute condition might drop out if their symptoms weren't improving within the first few days. I come from a background that looks at all sides. And yes I think we are saying the same thing. We are just highlighting different possibilities. Anthon01 (talk) 01:03, 18 January 2008 (UTC)


Does someone have reliable sources on homeopathic provings that are suitable for inclusion? —Whig (talk) 06:35, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Provings? Please clarify. Antelan talk 17:13, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Maybe this helps clarify, and I can find provings for many homeopathic preparations but not all of them are necessarily reliable sources suitable for inclusion. Homeopathic schools and practitioners prove remedies by giving them to healthy people under conditions that attempt to exclude other factors and then collect reports and compare them to one another and prior provings reported of the same remedies. —Whig (talk) 19:11, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
"Homeopathic drug provings" are experiments in toxicology that are usually single-blind or double-blind trials (some provings are not blinded, though many homeopaths do not trust such trials). According to Dantas, 58% of the proving trials conducted between 1945 and 1995 were blinded (Dantas, F., Fisher, P., Walach, H., Wieland, F., Rastogi, D.P., Teixeira, H., Koster, D., Jansen, J.P., Eizayaga, J., Alvarez, M.E.P., Marim, M., Belon, P. and Weckx, L.L.M. 2007. A systematic review of the quality of homeopathic pathogenetic trials published from 1945 to 1995. Homeopathy, 96: 4-16.). These provings are supposed to be conducted on healthy people, and Whig is correct: historically and at present, many schools of homeopathy engage in provings using students as subjects. Provings are a way that students learn about a medicine (and the various symptoms that it is known to cause). Provings are conducted using various potencies, some of which are low potencies and some of which are the 30th potency. Homeopathic texts, called materia medica (Latin for "materials of medicine"), are compendiums of drug provings, and this information about what a substance causes in provings on healthy people is used by homeopaths in books AND software to treat people who are experiencing a similar SYNDROME of symptoms. What is interesting about homeopathic materia medica, even those written in the 19th century, is how much the information in them squares well with modern understanding of a substance's toxicology (information on lead, arsenic, and aluminum are good examples). The big difference is that homeopathic texts provide considerably more detailed information about what a substance causes. The other difference is that there is no discussion on the dose-response issue because homeopaths are more interested in knowing what a substance causes than the dose in which it causes it.
It should be noted that the above article by Dantas and team show that homeopaths provide self-critical assessments of their own field. Although skeptics of homeopathy think that advocates of homeopathy don't look self-critically at our own field, I disagree. One important point about homeopathic drug provings is that they are usually not conducted to "prove" that homeopathy works to skeptics, they are conducted to expand our knowledge about what a medicine causes (and thus, what it can cure when given in homeopathic doses). Because many provings are conducted by people who are not formally trained researchers, the quality of these studies is not always good. However, once again, when you compare homeopathic texts with modern toxicology texts, you find a tremendous amount of overlap.
For people who want to see online some detailed information about some modern drug provings, see: [4] Dana Ullman Talk 16:18, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

There have been some double-blind and otherwise high-quality provings, such as this one, cited in the article:

Brien S, Lewith G, Bryant T (2003). "Ultramolecular homeopathy has no observable clinical effects. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled proving trial of Belladonna 30C". British journal of clinical pharmacology. 56 (5): 562–568. PMID 14651731. 

I think we used to have more discussion of scientific testing of homeopathic dogma on provings, but it got lost along the way. --Art Carlson (talk) 17:37, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

A couple of points re what Art said about using routine remedies, and what Dana said about provings -- they both boil down to the same point in fact. In provings Hahnemann saw from a very early stage that the basic imprint of a remedy establishes itself upon the human economy in the same way every time. So for example the redness, itching and heat of sulphur or the delirium, redness, high fever of Belladonna...these broad images were present in all provers every time. Now, if you were to then find a sickness that affects a whole batch of people in the same way, then yes you could legitimately use the same remedy for that almost on a routine basis as Art said. In fact, Hahnemann used Belladonna precisely in this way in 1801 for an epidemic of Scarlet fever he encountered, as all the cases presented the same image. And he wrote an essay about it. But in general terms and more usually the sickness image of a person is strictly an individual matter and so requires an individually matched well-chosen remedy. This is the standard view within homeopathy as practised by the vast majority of its practitioners. Peter morrell 19:26, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Well, that puts the criticism of RCT studies of (non-individualized) homeopathy into perspective. If you choose as the object of your study one of these diseases like scarlet fever, then you can follow the usual clinical procedure, without going to the trouble of individualization, and still get valid results, whether positive or negative. --Art Carlson (talk) 20:07, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

No, you didn't read what I posted very carefully. The epidemic is the exception to the rule. Most cases of sickness require individualisation period. Even in Scarlet fever several remedies are needed. Same with Cholera. You simply cannot cover every case with one remedy. So your contention is incorrect. You cannot test good homeopathy in the way you suggested. Peter morrell 20:41, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

So you think after all that Dr. Friese's claims are bogus? He says that "Scharlach" is easy to treat homeopathically, and he gives a general regimen, i.e. he recommends the same treatment for everyone and claims that it helps in "almost all cases" in 2-3 days. If that were the case, it would be trivial to design a traditional clinical trial to test it. If I understand you correctly now, you are saying that you don't believe he is correct. --Art Carlson (talk) 21:58, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

I would say he is typical of certain homeopaths who want to try and take shortcuts. There are no shortcuts. You prescribe for the sick person in front of you, NOT for an alleged human construct called a 'disease label.' That is a fictional entity as opposed to an empirical entity. Hahnemann explictly spoke about this disticntion and this point about shortcuts to specifics vs. truly holistic prescribing also caused a massive split in American homeopathy in about the 1880s. Here is an article [11] concerning the use of a so-called specific remedy. The article also contains info about the Oscillococcinum remedy made from heart and liver of Barbary Duck thought by some to be a specific for Flu. See also Organon paras 101-104 [12] I would again emphasise that specific remedies are used with some caution and suspicion by homeopaths because above all they wish to individualise each case of sickness. Does this answer your question? perhaps not. I think Dr Freise is probably wrong and certainly not Hahnemannian in what he says. Peter morrell 18:19, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

I guess we're back on individulization again. Well I know have evidence that inter-rater reliability is poor [13] and often within the realm of chance [14] which indicates that, which in layman's terms means that homeopaths don't often agree about most aspects of diagnosis. In other words it looks like no homeopathy is prescribing for the patient as they can't even agree on the nature of the patient. By the way, is anyone aware of a meta-analyses of these inter-rater reliability trials? I would have no problem with including any claims that homeopaths individualize their treatments as long as it was followed by the Linde individualization meta-analysis (the only meta-analysis in this area which I am aware of) and some inter-rater reliability trials (not necessarily these specific ones and preferrably a secondary source). JamesStewart7 (talk) 08:45, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Homeopathy as ritual

Has there been any research on the possibility that homeopathy may work simply by creating a highly effective placebo? I think it's accepted that a patient's mental state can affect their physical well-being. The ritual of preparation from exotic ingredients, shaking, etc. perhaps reinforces homeopathy as something that both the practitioner and patient can sincerely believe in, thus increasing the effectiveness of the placebo. The only way I can think of to test this would be to replace the homeopath's bottles with something entirely different without their being aware that they were even involved in an experiment and see if the effectiveness of the treatment changed. But that raises obvious ethical questions. Have there been any academic studies along these lines? Raymond Arritt (talk) 16:58, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I think that's exactly what homeopathy's effects have been ascribed to by orthodox medicine. That test would probably not pass an IRB (not because you'd be violating patients, who would derive the same benefits as before, but because you'd be violating homeopaths). Interesting thoughts, anyway. Antelan talk 17:12, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that would be very bad for the homeopaths because their careful observations would be skewed by their lack of knowledge of what to be looking for, however contrary it may seem to the preferred (i.e., double blind placebo controlled trials) methods of pharmaceutical drug studies. For example, someone would not be able to recognize what a Pulsatilla case looks like if they don't see how it affects people in vivo, and if you don't even know if the person has taken Pulsatilla, it would also become harder in the future to recognize Pulsatilla when treating other patients. There is substantial argument in the homeopathic literature that double blind placebo controlled trials are not the optimal way to study this subject. —Whig (talk) 23:55, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
There is a lot of general placebo research, done by psychologists and others. One review that made a bit of a splash is here, [15]. This review is kind of damning of placebo effects in any area other than pain. However, others have stated that greater placebo effects would be expected outside of double-blind RCTs, as in double-blind RCTs ethics dictates telling a patient that they may be receiving a placebo, lowering expectations. There have been trials comparing a placebo group with a no treatment control in which patients were not told that there was a placebo group. There have also been trials where patients do not know they are receiving the placebo (they're already on a machine that gives injections) and there have been trials where they presented the placebo saying different things (changing expectations). There is a fair bit of this research but most of it is in the area of pain (since placebo effects are most reliably observed there) and most of them do not involve homeopathy (none that I am aware of). Interestingly, the aforementioned review found that placebo effects are virtually the same no matter what placebo is used.
As for what you mentioned, "The only way I can think of to test this would be to replace the homeopath's bottles with something entirely different without their being aware that they were even involved in an experiment and see if the effectiveness of the treatment changed." this has been done when they know they are involved in the experiment but as you said there is no ethical way to recruit someone into an experiment like this without telling them. Also you wouldn't actually be measuring the placebo effect anyway in this design. The only way you can really measure the placebo effect is to compare a no treatment control group to a placebo group. In your design you would really be testing the influence of differing expectations on the placebo effect, not the total of the placebo effect itself. Interesting, but not what we're after. Anyway unless anyone has placebo research on homeopathy itself, maybe we should bring the talk to the Placebo page. The current page is quite comprehensive but there may be a few things to add. JamesStewart7 (talk) 02:41, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Interesting.....which reminds me of a story from my career:

I once had an acquaintance who was a laboratory technician. One day, while we were talking about alternative medicine, she volunteered this interesting experience regarding homeopathy:

She had formerly worked at a compounding pharmacy where they filled orders from various MDs. They also made various medicinal preparations. One of the MDs was also a homeopath. He had certain of his homeopathic "medicines" made there. She told me that she and her associates didn't believe in any of the homeopathic humbug. (They were more logical than the MD!) So they saved a lot of time and effort by filling the little bottles with pure water and labelling them as he had ordered, thus producing a fake “fake medicine”. They figured: “Why actually bother diluting and succussing? It’s fake anyway, so it won’t make any difference." And it didn’t.

He never knew the difference. Neither did his patients. No one complained. No one got hurt. (Clean water in small doses doesn’t usually have unpleasant side effects.) His patients got the same reactions that they usually got. Most of them got better, just as they usually did. No one paid any more or less, or got any more or less, than they usually did. After all, no known type of laboratory analysis in the world would have been able to tell the difference between the usual “medicine” and the “fake” medicine. The only difference was in the discrepancy between the fact and the expectation. (Which happens to be the key to why the placebo delusion works at all.)

What she and her associates did was unethical, illegal and fraudulent. They had received no exemption from informed consent either, as is required for certain types of scientific experiments (where there is an obvious lack of potential harm). What they did was not even officially a research project. But it was certainly one way (illegally) of testing the homeopathic hypothesis. Talk about effective blinding! (see Disclaimer below.)

Now what if, on the other hand, a homeopath and his patients were to sign releases? It would be an effective way to legally test homeopathy.

The ethics can get debated from many angles. What is the difference between a lie and an untruth? What constitutes fraud? What is the difference between ignorance, malpractice, mistakes and fraud? Who had the worst ethics: the homeopath or the lab tech? What is “logic”, the “scientific method”, “mode 2 thinking”, “immunity to cognitive dissonance”, etc. What about the satisfied patient, who replies to all the shocking revelations: "I won’t press charges against anyone. I think it worked for me, and that's all I'm interested in."

Disclaimer: Let me make it perfectly clear.......I am NOT advocating the actions of this particular lab tech as a legitimate way of testing homeopathy! It was unethical, illegal and fraudulent behavior. I am just relating the interesting experience of one of my acquaintances. -- Fyslee / talk 06:38, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

It seems to me that this is a story we cannot consider reliable for any purpose. Second hand (non-RS/non-V) reports of unethical people claiming they did things and had no negative consequences to them should not be regarded as worthy of further consideration. —Whig (talk) 07:03, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Whig, this is the talk page, not the article. No one is proposing to use this for the article. Just relax a bit. -- Fyslee / talk 07:39, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
That's true, and you're right that we can discuss sources here that might not be suitable for inclusion, indeed we might need to discuss them here first to determine that they are suitable. I don't know what is gained by these digressions into stories about people committing fraud and trying to claim this has relevance to homeopathy. —Whig (talk) 07:43, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Primary and Secondary Sources

So is there any point in presenting peer-review articles that are a 'primary source'? It looks like they are a violation of WP:NOR. You need a second source remote from the original research to comment on the primary in order for it to be acceptable for wikipedia. I missed that one. I thought that an original peer-reviewed ressearch article was acceptable, but it looks like I was wrong. So would a review, letter or commentary in a peer-review journal do? How about commentary in an orginal research article about another research article? Would that do as a secondary source? I'm not so keen on meta-analyses as they require a subjective step in determining which articles to add to the meta-analyses and they have been wrong in the past. Anthon01 (talk) 19:39, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I also think there have been some published criticisms of those meta-analyses which deserve to be considered as reliable sources for inclusion even if they were not published in the mainstream journals. —Whig (talk) 19:42, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
THere is some criticisms of meta-analyses in general since they require a subjective step and have found to be grossly wrong when compared with large RCTs. Anthon01 (talk) 19:45, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Can we create an index of proposed sources, and somehow show the controversy clearly here in the talk space, so that at least we will be able to go through that and figure out which sources are not only reliable and suitable for inclusion but also verifiable and of significance? Let's let the sources argue for us. —Whig (talk) 19:49, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

For starters, here is one controversy:

That 2005 Lancet study acknowledged that there were 22 "high quality" homeopathic studies and only 9 "high quality" allopathic (mainstream medicine) studies. ALL of these studies were high quality, and one fact is that the 2005 Lancet study study verified more than TWICE the number of homeopathic trials were of high quality. Shang never provided analysis of the comparison of THESE high quality trials.

Shang chose to only analyze only the high quality trials that had a large number of subjects. He claimed that the large number of subjects made these trials "unbiased." This assumption is arbitrary. The final 8 homeopathic trials did not include several high quality clinical studies that were published in reputable medical journals, including Pediatrics (the Jacob diarrhea study), the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study on using Oscillococcinum in the treatment of influenza, two British Medical Journal trials (1 on asthma and 1 on allergic rhinitis) and one Lancet study on hayfever (all conducted at the University of Glasgow by D. Reilly and team) . . . and many more. Anyone who says that the Shang analysis only included "high quality" trials is uninformed or simply wanted to perpetuate misinformation.

Also, the final 8 homeopathic trials and final 6 allopathic (mainstream medicine) trials were no longer "matched" in any way. Further and of special significance, 6 of the 8 homeopathic studies included the use of only ONE medicine without any degree of individualization that is common in homeopathic treatment (the use of only one medicine for one disease is an exception to the rule; for instance, there is evidence that Kali bichromicum is effective in the treatment of people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - COPD). These large trial studies did not have "external validity" because these trials were not consistent with traditional homeopathic practice. For example, using homeopathic Thyroidinum for weight-loss was one of the final 8 trials even though this is not a common homeopathic practice. Arion 3x3 (talk) 22:49, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

It seems as if the methodologies of homeopathic and molecular medicine are at odds with one another, but both are scientific disciplines, one which relies upon empirical replication and careful record keeping, the other on large scale sampling. What homeopaths would call a high quality study might be criticized as low quality by the pharmacists, while what the pharmacists would call a high quality study might be criticized as low quality by the homeopaths. We need to put this dispute in context and let the criticisms of each be considered. —Whig (talk) 23:42, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the inclusion of primary sources (original studies) is problematic. Strictly, speaking you don't need a secondary source but if you do not have one, you must describe the study only. However, as we have ample secondary sources and there are lots of studies we should, of course, favour the secondary sources. The meta-analyses are secondary sources. This argument is invalid "Would that do as a secondary source? I'm not so keen on meta-analyses as they require a subjective step in determining which articles to add to the meta-analyses and they have been wrong in the past" as you can't just lump all meta-analyses together. By the same logic we should ignore all science becuase people once thought the earth is flat (then again I'm sure people have proposed similar things). You could also say the same about every reference in the world (how do you know which references are good?) Wikipedia has reliability guildlines WP:RS, WP:V which state that the scholarship and peer review of the Lancet analysis establishes it as reliable.
The other arguments can be summed up with this "these trials were not consistent with traditional homeopathic practice". This disucssion occurred not long ago, Talk:Homeopathy#RCT_trials_the_take_into_account_individualization, Talk:Homeopathy#Constructive_ideas_-_break and I am not prepared to re-enter it unless someone proposes some new ideas as cyclical arguments don't get us anywhere. JamesStewart7 (talk) 23:52, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I think the goal of this section is a good one. I'll try to locate all the relevant secondary sources available on PubMed tomorrow and list them here. This should include any meta-analyses and systematic literature reviews. I think the sources of each review are an important consideration, as, for example, a positive treatment of homeopathy from a journal like Homeopathy should be viewed with the same lens as one might view a negative review from something like Proceedings of the Academy of Big Pharma and the Medical Establishment. (I just made that up, and I find it amusing. Damn the man!) I know a lot are already within the article, but I think through a group effort we can find an effective way to use relevant sources and weight their impact on the text. Primary sources, like the one in the section above, I think are useful in sections that present the various treatments that have been scientifically explored, and noting methods for those explorations, but shouldn't (generally) be used for any definitive claim concerning the overall efficacy (positive or negative) of a specific treatment for a specific illness. It may be my bias, but I am really uncomfortable using publications in which the study is clearly not blinded or randomized. — Scientizzle 02:39, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

JamesStewart7: It seems to me that we are assuming that meta-analyses are secondary sources only, when they are primary sources of the conclusions and recommendations they are making. They are secondary sources in that they review articles and determine relative quality. Anthon01 (talk) 22:06, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Couldn't you say the exact same thing about virtually every secondary source? Every secondary source makes a conclusion based on the primary sources. That's the whole point of writing them. Wikipedia guidlines state that a source making analytic and synethic claims are still secondary sources "Secondary sources may draw on primary sources and other secondary sources to create a general overview; or to make analytic or synthetic claims." JamesStewart7 (talk) 07:04, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Primary source: direct information about the subject. Secondary source: discusses information originally presented elsewhere. The individual studies count as primary sources, reviews and analyses are secondary sources, and wholly appropriate to meet WP:SOURCES. — Scientizzle 07:19, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Seems to me the review part is secondary and the analytical or synthetic claims may be primary. The sources page states that "Primary and secondary are relative terms, and some sources may be classified as primary or secondary, depending on how it is used." Some meta-analyses use novel approaches to classifying articles for inclusion. That those novel approaches get a pass makes no sense to me. Those novel approaches are primary research and if those methods are used to reach a conclusion then the conclusion is OR and should be classified is a primary source. Anthon01 (talk) 14:25, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
What novel approaches? I'm assuming we are referring to some meta-analysis is the article and I know the Lancet review is most contentious (which I think has a lot more to do with its damning conclusion than its methodology). As far as I am aware though, the procedures used in the Lancet meta-analyses were quite standard and I'm going to preempt some replies by saying that almost all large meta-analyses exclude a number of studies on quality grounds. JamesStewart7 (talk) 05:47, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Incorrect Entry

Under the section titled "Contemporary Prevalence" the following entry is incorrect:

"Homeopathy is not officially recognized by Federal Food and Drug Act in Canada..."

For many years homeopathy has been recognized by the Federal Government of Canada. This can be verified as the homeopathic medicines licensed during that time identified with a Drug Identification Number, or DIN, on the label. More recently a new directorate was created and in 2004 homeopathic medicines came under the regulatory authority of the Natural Health Products Directorate (still regulated under the Food and Drug Act). Homeopathic Medicines licenced under the new directorate wil be labelled with a DIN-HM, where the HM indicates homeopathic medicine.

Kindly go to the Natural Health Products Directorate webpage of the Health Canada website to confirm this information:

Jennyd777 (talk) 02:12, 13 January 2008 (UTC)jennyd777

From [16], "Section 3(2) of the Food and Drugs Act prohibits the sale of drugs, including natural health products, that are labelled, or that are advertised to the general public, for the treatment, prevention or cure of the diseases, disorders, or abnormal physical states listed on Schedule A." There is a health act that recognizes homeopathic remedies (not homeopathy itself, probably a minor distinction here). The act prohibits advertisement of homeopathic remedies as being advertised as treating, preventing, or curing diseases listed on Schedule A. Perhaps the article should be updated. Antelan talk 02:43, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
On second thought, maybe this actually isn't as relevant here as I had thought: No, the Natural Health Products Regulations are not aimed at regulating the practice of complementary and alternative health care practitioners or the practice of traditional Aboriginal medicine. Health care practitioners (for example, pharmacists, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners, herbalists, naturopathic doctors, etc.) who compound products at the request of a patient are not included within the manufacturer definition. [17] Not sure of the context where this would come into play just yet. Antelan talk 02:47, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Reviews and meta-analyses...get your secondary sources, folks!

There are 398 papers that fall under the "Reviews" tab at PubMed on the query "Homeopathy" (out of 3545 total papers). Below are a selection of interesting papers (that my institution can access) from the last couple of years, with money-quotes from abstract conclusions. I stopped after a couple dozen, travelling back to ~2002; this list isn't close to exhaustive, but it may prove useful for discussion & article building. Any responses should probably be made in a new section, or a subsection of this one, just for navigational clarity.

There is currently little evidence for the efficacy of homeopathy for the treatment of ADHD.

  • Bell IR (2007). "Adjunctive care with nutritional, herbal, and homeopathic complementary and alternative medicine modalities in stroke treatment and rehabilitation". Top Stroke Rehabil. 14 (4): 30–9. doi:10.1310/tsr1404-30. PMID 17698456. 

...some homeopathically prepared remedies show promise for reducing infarct size and associated impairments...Individualized homeopathy may even play a helpful adjunctive role in treatment of sepsis. However, a great deal of systematic research effort lies ahead before most of the options discussed would meet mainstream medical standards for introduction into routine treatment regimens.

  • Witt CM, Bluth M, Albrecht H, Weisshuhn TE, Baumgartner S, Willich SN (2007). "The in vitro evidence for an effect of high homeopathic potencies--a systematic review of the literature". Complement Ther Med. 15 (2): 128–38. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2007.01.011. PMID 17544864. 

...experiments with a high methodological standard could demonstrate an effect of high potencies. No positive result was stable enough to be reproduced by all investigators. A general adoption of succussed controls, randomization and blinding would strengthen the evidence of future experiments.

  • Altunç U, Pittler MH, Ernst E (2007). "Homeopathy for childhood and adolescence ailments: systematic review of randomized clinical trials". Mayo Clin. Proc. 82 (1): 69–75. PMID 17285788. 

The evidence from rigorous clinical trials of any type of therapeutic or preventive intervention testing homeopathy for childhood and adolescence ailments is not convincing enough for recommendations in any condition.

  • Dantas F, Fisher P, Walach H; et al. (2007). "A systematic review of the quality of homeopathic pathogenetic trials published from 1945 to 1995". Homeopathy. 96 (1): 4–16. doi:10.1016/j.homp.2006.11.005. PMID 17227742. 

The [studies] were generally of low methodological quality...Homeopathic medicines, tested in HPTs, appear safe. The central question of whether homeopathic medicines in high dilutions can provoke effects in healthy volunteers has not yet been definitively answered, because of methodological weaknesses of the reports...

The results suggest that, for several treatments, the risk-benefit profile is encouraging...For other therapies the evidence is weak or contradictory: homeopathy...

  • Thachil AF, Mohan R, Bhugra D (2007). "The evidence base of complementary and alternative therapies in depression". J Affect Disord. 97 (1-3): 23–35. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2006.06.021. PMID 16926053. 

Complex Homoeopathy...showed inconclusive results.

  • Bornhöft G, Wolf U, von Ammon K; et al. (2006). "Effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of homeopathy in general practice - summarized health technology assessment". Forsch Komplement Med (2006). 13 Suppl 2: 19–29. doi:10.1159/000093586. PMID 16883077. 

effectiveness of homeopathy can be supported by clinical evidence and professional and adequate application be regarded as safe.

  • Pilkington K, Kirkwood G, Rampes H, Fisher P, Richardson J (2006). "Homeopathy for anxiety and anxiety disorders: a systematic review of the research". Homeopathy. 95 (3): 151–62. doi:10.1016/j.homp.2006.05.005. PMID 16815519. 

On the basis of this review it is not possible to draw firm conclusions on the efficacy or effectiveness of homeopathy for anxiety.

  • Passalacqua G, Bousquet PJ, Carlsen KH; et al. (2006). "ARIA update: I--Systematic review of complementary and alternative medicine for rhinitis and asthma". J. Allergy Clin. Immunol. 117 (5): 1054–62. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2005.12.1308. PMID 16675332. 

Some positive results were described with homeopathy in good-quality trials in rhinitis, but a number of negative studies were also found. Therefore it is not possible to provide evidence-based recommendations for homeopathy in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, and further trials are needed.

Our analysis of published literature on homeopathy found insufficient evidence to support clinical efficacy of homeopathic therapy in cancer care.

  • Sarzi-Puttini P, Cimmino MA, Scarpa R; et al. (2005). "Osteoarthritis: an overview of the disease and its treatment strategies". Semin. Arthritis Rheum. 35 (1 Suppl 1): 1–10. doi:10.1016/j.semarthrit.2005.01.013. PMID 16084227. 

There is [no] evidence for the pain-relieving efficacy of...homeopathy

  • Pilkington K, Kirkwood G, Rampes H, Fisher P, Richardson J (2005). "Homeopathy for depression: a systematic review of the research evidence". Homeopathy. 94 (3): 153–63. PMID 16060201. 

the evidence for the effectiveness of homeopathy in depression is limited due to lack of clinical trials of high quality

The evidence related not convincing enough to suggest effectiveness.

Current evidence does not support a preventative effect of Oscillococcinum-like homeopathic medicines in influenza and influenza-like syndromes.

There is not enough evidence to reliably assess the possible role of homeopathy in asthma.

There is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of homoeopathy as a method of induction.

  • Smolle J (2003). "Homeopathy in dermatology". Dermatol Ther. 16 (2): 93–7. PMID 12919110. 

To date, however, there is no convincing evidence for a therapeutic effect. There are only a few controlled trials, most of them with negative results. The few studies with positive results have not been reproduced.

  • Ullman D (2003). "Controlled clinical trials evaluating the homeopathic treatment of people with human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome". J Altern Complement Med. 9 (1): 133–41. doi:10.1089/107555303321223008. PMID 12676041. 

homeopathic medicine may play a useful role as an adjunctive and/or alternative therapy.

  • Jonas WB, Kaptchuk TJ, Linde K (2003). "A critical overview of homeopathy". Ann. Intern. Med. 138 (5): 393–9. PMID 12614092. 

Three independent systematic reviews of placebo-controlled trials on homeopathy reported that its effects seem to be more than placebo, and one review found its effects consistent with placebo. There is also evidence from randomized, controlled trials that homeopathy may be effective for the treatment of influenza, allergies, postoperative ileus, and childhood diarrhea. Evidence suggests that homeopathy is ineffective for migraine, delayed-onset muscle soreness, and influenza prevention. There is a lack of conclusive evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy for most conditions.

  • Ernst E (2002). "A systematic review of systematic reviews of homeopathy". Br J Clin Pharmacol. 54 (6): 577–82. PMID 12492603. 

It is concluded that the best clinical evidence for homeopathy available to date does not warrant positive recommendations for its use in clinical practice.

  • Shang A, Huwiler-Müntener K, Nartey L; et al. (2005). "Are the clinical effects of homoeopathy placebo effects? Comparative study of placebo-controlled trials of homoeopathy and allopathy". Lancet. 366 (9487): 726–32. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67177-2. PMID 16125589. 

Biases are present in placebo-controlled trials of both homoeopathy and conventional medicine. When account was taken for these biases in the analysis, there was weak evidence for a specific effect of homoeopathic remedies, but strong evidence for specific effects of conventional interventions. This finding is compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects.

Regarding the physical details in homeopathy research: Becker-Witt C, Weisshuhn TE, Lüdtke R, Willich SN (2003). "Quality assessment of physical research in homeopathy". J Altern Complement Med. 9 (1): 113–32. doi:10.1089/107555303321222991. PMID 12676040. 

Johnson T, Boon H (2007). "Where does homeopathy fit in pharmacy practice?". Am J Pharm Educ. 71 (1): 7. PMID 17429507.  is interesting in its hands-off analysis of the dispute within clinical medicine over the validity of homeopathy and its implications for pharmacists.

Maxion-Bergemann S, Wolf M, Bornhöft G, Matthiessen PF, Wolf U (2006). "Complementary and alternative medicine costs - a systematic literature review". Forsch Komplement Med (2006). 13 Suppl 2: 42–5. doi:10.1159/000093313. PMID 16883079.  is interesting in its exploration of the costs of alternative medicines compared to standard care.

Caulfield T, DeBow S (2005). "A systematic review of how homeopathy is represented in conventional and CAM peer reviewed journals". BMC Complement Altern Med. 5: 12. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-5-12. PMID 15955254.  -- this review highlights alleged "publication bias" (though they also state within the text that the results could just as easily be explained by "submission bias"). It's a quick read, and worthy for putting some of the above studies in more context.

I'll leave the floor open (for now) for anyone to explore the use of these or other studies in the present article. — Scientizzle 22:48, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

User:Jefffire's edits ("...beyond placebo")

Jefffire made this edit] which was reverted by User:Orangemarlin on the grounds that there wasn't always even a placebo effect, which is no doubt true. However, I don't think Jefffire's wording suggested that there was always a placebo effect; rather, I think it just said that there was sometimes a benefit, and that when there was a benefit, it could be ascribed to placebo. As I understand it, this is entirely true, and I think Jefffire's edits should be restored. Thoughts? Sarcasticidealist (talk) 18:41, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Agreed. Saying that there is no effect "beyond placebo" only admits the possibility of a placebo effect. Raymond Arritt (talk) 18:43, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

And it is the existence of effects beyond placebo that is controversial. Tim Vickers (talk) 20:15, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

OK, two individuals whom I trust disagreed with my edit. I'll flog myself at dawn. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 23:18, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Homeopaths contend....

Homeopaths contend that many studies and metalyses have demonstrated that homeopathy has an effect over and above placebo even though the placebo-controlled randomized controlled trial is not the best research tool to test homeopathy A spokeswoman from the Society of Homoeopaths said: "Many previous studies have demonstrated that homeopathy has an effect over and above placebo.

"It has been established beyond doubt and accepted by many researchers, that the placebo-controlled randomised controlled trial is not a fitting research tool with which to test homeopathy."

Cherry picking from one article is not a preferred sourcing technique. Please find additional sources that are more reliable than a few sentences from a BBC article. ScienceApologist (talk) 20:11, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
(ec X 2) I don't think it's in doubt that homeopaths contend this. The question is where in the article it should be incorporated (if anywhere) and how - I don't see the need for new sources. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 20:15, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Which homeopaths contend...? I believe that some homeopaths would be perfectly willing to accept a "reblinded" study. (The homeopath chooses a treatment, and a randomizer decided whether to use that treatment or the same substance rediluted without an "active" ingredient.) — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 20:24, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Fair question: in this case, it's a spokesperson for the Society of Homeopaths. But if there's doubt that this is a widespread contention among homeopaths, then by all means let's dig up some more sources. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 20:30, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Thats easy. I will take a look and let you know.--Area69 (talk) 22:01, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Mainstream newspapers are good sources. No?--Area69 (talk) 20:13, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Depends. Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren't. ScienceApologist (talk) 20:19, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
The wiki rules dont say it depends. By the way I would like an administrator to review my talkpage and comment on the users. This is a personal attack. --Area69 (talk) 20:24, 24 January 2008 (UTC)Please advice,--Area69 (talk) 20:27, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
I've responded at your talk page. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 20:28, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Do you seriously doubt that this is a contention widely made by homeopaths? I think there's plenty of evidence to that effect. Where it should go in the article and how it should be presented (based on WP:WEIGHT, WP:FRINGE, etc.) seems to me to be the real issue; not whether or not this is what homeopaths contend. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 20:22, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
If someone writes an article about an X minority (homeopathy) must include its important views and then add scientific critisism. In the lead these views should be summurized. --Area69 (talk) 20:52, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Materials science approach

May be interesting to see if anything further comes from this: -- Jayen466 00:32, 25 January 2008 (UTC)


This text from the lead of the article appears to be original research.

Ethical concerns regarding homeopathic treatment,[5][6][7][8][9][10]

The references don't support the statement. It should removed. I did and OM reverted. Anthon01 (talk) 03:28, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Please explain. I'm very curious as to your logic. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 03:29, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Find me the references that says "ethics." Anthon01 (talk) 03:31, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Biased language about "ethics" concerns over the use of homeopathy has no place in the lead section. There is question as to whether such blatant editorializing belongs anywhere in this article. Arion 3x3 (talk) 03:55, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Well ethics in homeopathy and alt med has been a very big story recently, with the SoH in the UK being involved, AIDs "cures", poor anti malarial advice, bad anthrax remedies during the fallout from the WTC attacks, and the homeopathic regulators being either. What are your specific arguments against each of these refs? -- (talk) 09:27, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
WP:OR. Anthon01 (talk) 11:46, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

There has been selective choosing of refs by an editor to attempt to advance a position. In other words, WP:OR. Arion 3x3 (talk) 13:16, 25 January 2008 (UTC)`

Could you expand on your claims? Why is just WP:OR an answer? Pease give a detailed account of your problem. --RDOlivaw (talk) 13:35, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Here are the links for the 6 refs cited above & my commentary on their relationship to a claim of "ethical concerns":

  • [18] This is a commentary on the association of anti-vaccinationism with CAM practitioners and their clients: "In conclusion, some providers of CAM have an overtly negative attitude towards immunisation which constitutes a risk factor to health. Vaccinologists should know about this opposition and aim effective information at both these therapists and their clients." The article talks about homeopathy specifically, too, including specific examples of "homeopathic immunization" that ended badly. I think the ethical concern is obvious, but is never clearly stated in a way that I would be comfortable attributing anything beyond a "homeopaths (and other CAM proponents) often sport negative view of vaccination and advise their clients accordingly" kind of statement.
  • [19] This is basically an earlier version of the publication above.
  • [20] An earlier letter by the above author, but I read with interest this quote: "editorials in the British Homoeopathic Journal call the abandonment of mass immunization 'criminally irresponsible' and 'most unfortunate, in that it will be seen by most people as irresponsible and poorly based'." It may be worth locating these editorials--'criminally irresponsible' is quite a statement:

    3. English P. The issue of immunisation [editorial]. Br Homoeopathic J 1992; 81:161-163.
    4. Fisher P. Enough nonsense on immunisation [editorial]. Br Homoeopathic J 1990; 79:198-200.

  • [21] More on the malraia issue: "Scientists said the homeopaths' advice was reprehensible and likely to endanger lives."
  • [22] A letter in BMJ about malaria...
  • [23] BBC Nes on the homeopathic treatments from malaria...even quote was the director of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital who stated, ""I'm very angry about it because people are going to get malaria - there is absolutely no reason to think that homeopathy works to prevent malaria and you won't find that in any textbook or journal of homeopathy so people will get malaria, people may even die of malaria if they follow this advice." Again, the ethical concern is implict.

The actual problem here was this edit of mine in which I condensed

This lack of convincing evidence supporting its efficacy, along with its contradiction of modern scientific ideas, have caused homeopathy to be regarded as "placebo therapy at best and quackery at worst", in the words of a recent medical review.[11] Homeopaths are also accused of giving 'false hope' to patients who might otherwise seek effective conventional treatments.[citation needed] Many homeopaths advise against standard medical procedures such as vaccination,[12][6][7] and some homeopaths even advise against the use of anti-malarial drugs.[8][9][10]


Ethical concerns regarding homeopathic treatment,[13][6][7][8][9][10] a lack of convincing scientific evidence supporting its efficacy, and its contradiction of modern scientific ideas, have caused homeopathy to be regarded as "placebo therapy at best and quackery at worst".[11]

in an effort to reduce the cumbersome lead. Upon further investigation of the references I moved around, I think the refs presented weren't appropriate for a general statement regarding ethical concerns. I also think that the anti-vaccination story is appropriate only for the body of the article and not relevant enough for the lead. All this is a looong way of saying that I've no real problem with the removal of this clause--further limited research by me on PubMed didn't turn up much useful stuff to re-establish it, either--but there is an inkling of something there that might be worth a proper treatment. — Scientizzle 20:40, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Arsenicum album

Hi. Over on the Arsenicum album page there is almost an entire essay on how effective this remedy is, and how it's backed up by scientific evidence. There is also a call on the talk page for more editors to get involved. Maybe the information there might be useful here, and maybe we can make some good edits there. -- (talk) 09:24, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

More Neutral

I think that the following is (more) neutral.

Mainstream scientists regard homeopathy as scientifically implausible[5] and "diametrically opposed" to modern pharmaceutical knowledge.[6][7] They say that claims for efficacy of homeopathy are unsupported by the collective weight of scientific and clinical studies[8][9][10][11].

Comments? --Area69 (talk) 13:44, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

I have been urging for the last 6 weeks this correction to the wording so that the attribution of this view ("scientifically implausible") is clearly noted, and it does not come across as a pronouncement of Wikipedia. When I made the change yesterday, it was immediately reverted. Arion 3x3 (talk) 13:52, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I think everybody should reconsider. It is fair and it does not change the meaning of the sentence -and most important NPOV. --Area69 (talk) 13:54, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

As I mentioned above something to the effect that "No plausible mode of operation has been identified" is IMO, NPOV. No plausible mode of operation has been identified for homeopathy and it's underlying principles are "diametrically opposed" to modern pharmaceutical knowledge. Claims for efficacy of homeopathy are unsupported by the collective weight of scientific and clinical studies. Anthon01 (talk) 14:08, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

I disagree with both the first comments: "Scientifically implausible" implies (by) "mainstream scientists" unless other scientist are specifically identified. "No plausible mode of operation has been identified" may be OR (unless sourced), but it's not NPOV.Arthur Rubin | (talk) 14:13, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
There is a huge difference between being neutral, and just removing factual criticism. YOu are both suggesting removing factual information that is critical of homeopathy. --RDOlivaw (talk) 14:17, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
what are you talking about? Who suggested that we remove critisism?--Area69 (talk) 14:19, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
'They say' that claims for efficacy of homeopathy are unsupported by the collective weight of scientific and clinical studies[8][9][10][11].
Why this is not Neutral and critical. ?--Area69 (talk) 14:20, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Withdrawing my comment in regard Anthon01's edit above. Although the original "scientifically implausible" statement is clearly NPOV, "No plausible mode of operation has been identified" seems to cover the ground fairly well. I would propose "Homeopathy is considered scientifically implausible, as no plausible mode of operation has been identified." There are scientific concepts which are accepted as possible, even though no specific mode of operation has been identified. And they say' is clearly WP:WEASEL. — Arthur Rubin | (talk) 14:30, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I believe less is better as WP:LEAD says concise. I think I get what you are trying to say but the sentence you proposing doesn't say that. Please give me an example of "scientific concepts which are accepted as possible, even though no specific mode of operation has been identified". Anthon01 (talk) 14:54, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

They say suggests it is merely opinion, while it clearly is fact. Unless somebody can provide evidence to the contrary there is no explanation available that meets the requirements of the scientific method. Nomen NescioGnothi seauton 14:45, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

I suggest: "Homeopathy is considered scientifically implausible by mainstream scientists, since no mode of operation has yet been identified." There have been possibilites proposed, [24] even though no specific mode of operation has been identified. Arion 3x3 (talk) 14:56, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
The statement "Homeopathy is considered scientifically implausible, since no mode of operation has yet been identified" is incorrect. Implausible means "Unbelievable; difficult to believe or imagine." Some scientific concepts are believable even though no mode of operation has yet been identified, like aspirin before 1983. No one knew how it worked before that. 16:54, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Are ther any reliable sources that argue that homeopathy is not a pseudoscience?

Of course there are:

All the metanalyses (besides the 2005) one and the studies which are already in use in the article write about promising studies and results in homeopathy, more or less, theurapeutic effect over placebo. None of the metanalyses have used this term even the 2005 one.

It is very easy to provide quotes. Should I do it?

I challenge everyone to name a topic which scientists keep studying and call for more research even thought they believe it is pseudoscience.Name one.Please. --Area69 (talk) 00:59, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Those show the individual researchers' opinion. We have that saying just the opposite. What we need is an authoritative source which represents the opinion of the scientific community. Think Academy of Science, for instance. -- Levine2112 discuss 22:43, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

The National Academy of Sciences does not concern itself with things such as Time Cube, crystal healing, psychic surgery or homeopathy. Do you have any reliable sources that state that homeopathy is not pseudoscience? Tim Vickers (talk) 22:52, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

TIM VICKERS, would you trust a creationsit to give an informed opinion about evolution? would you trust a crystal healer to give an informaed opinion about medical science? if not, then why would you turst an allopathic 'doctor' to give an informed opinion about homoeo pathic science? Smith Jones (talk) 22:53, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
So you put homeopathy in a similar category as creationism and crystal healing? I think that argues for a pseudo-scientific classification quite strongly. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:57, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
NO TI DON'T. i consider allopathy to be on the same level of creationism and crystal healing, a delusional moneygrubbing fraud. Smith Jones (talk) 23:02, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
The point is that it is not a science, but claims to be. That is why it is a pseudoscience. Stephen B Streater (talk) 22:56, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
and MY point is that only allopaths claims that homeopathic science is a psuedoscience. it makes as uch sense to trust them to give a fair and impratial viewpoint as it is to trust a creationist about evolution or basic biogloy or a scientologist about psychiatry. When you ahe a group that has dedicated so much of itself to seething, petulant hatred of another medical sdiscipline there is a tendency to trefuse to give them the bneefit of the doubt. Now, there are many honest allopaths out there who honestly believe that they are practicing is good for their patients, and if they're sources are verifiable then i have no problem ith using them on this article. my problem is when they are used for authoritariantive proof about something that they couldnt possibly have approached neutrally in thef first place. Smith Jones (talk) 23:02, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Smith Jones, you would be well advised to steer clear of this article if you cannot edit without flinging insults at other editors. Baegis (talk) 23:05, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
I see, it's only the scientists who consider homeopathy a pseudoscience. Interesting. Silly rabbit (talk) 23:11, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

(undent) please assume good faith Baegis. Who did I insult and where? Smith Jones (talk) 23:07, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Let's start with saying that allopathy, and with that all practitioners of it, are part of a "delusional moneygrubbing fraud". Then lets go with the "seething petulant hatred" part as a follow up. There is at least one M.D that edits this article, and probably more that I don't know for sure. I am quite sure they do not appreciate such insults. After those attacks, AGF gets tossed out the window. I am moving my warning to your talk page, if you wish to discuss them further. Baegis (talk) 23:23, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Smith Jones may have a problem with typos, but he did not insult any other editors here. Arion 3x3 (talk) 23:16, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Only their intelligence. &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 23:20, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Given that some of the participants here are doctors, his investing them with "seething, petulant hatred" and similar sweet words definitely qualifies as an insult. Raymond Arritt (talk) 23:22, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Given that some of the participants are homeopaths, calling them "quacks" or "kooks" or such definitely qualifies as an insult as well then. -- Levine2112 discuss 23:26, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Nowhere on this talk page were any homeopaths attacked like Smith Jones attacked allopaths. All discussion about quackery was related to sources. And no actual homeopaths were called quacks by any other editors. Baegis (talk) 23:31, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Yes, homeopaths were very directly attacked, with accusations that they were engaging in "fraud" as pertains to their patients. (read the Archives for December 2007) Arion 3x3 (talk) 23:34, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

i apologize of my words were misinterpreted by User:Baegis but i argue that refering to creationism and crystal therapy as a 'fraud' is not the same as refering to all doctors in the world as frauds and that my refernece to seething heatred was illadvised and that i was only reacting to the constant barrage of hate speech directed towards homeopaths here on this talk page. Smith Jones (talk) 23:36, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

I am concerned about ScienceApologist unwillingness to discuss this further. I removed this again: [25]. Please note his edit summary. -- Levine2112 discuss 23:59, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

It certainly is disruptive editing and condescending to decide for all other editors that this matter is resolved. Anthon01 (talk) 00:02, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Could someone place a warning on his talk page? Anthon01 (talk) 00:03, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

This article is totally biased when saying there are no references. To mention some: 9. Fisher P. An experimental double-blind clinical trial method in homeopathy. Use of a limited range of remedies to treat fibrositis. Br Homoeopathic J 1986;75:142-57.

10. Fisher P, Greenwood A, Huskisson EC, et al. Effect of homeopathic treatment on fibrositis (primary fibromyalgia). BMJ 1989;299:365-6.

11. Gibson RG, Gibson S, Macneill AD, et al. Homeopathic therapy in rheumatoid arthritis: evaluation by double-blind clinical therapeutic trial. Br J Clin Pharmacol 1980;9:453-9.

12. Aulagnier G. Action d'un traitement homéopatique sur la reprise du transit postopératoire. Homéopathie 1985;6:42-5.

13. Dorfman P, Amodéo C, Ricciotti F, et al. Iléus post-opératoire et homéopathie: bilan d'une evaluation clinique. Cahiers Bio 1992;114:33-9.

14. Barnes J, Resch K, Ernst E. Homeopathy for postoperative ileus? J Clin Gastroenterol 1997;25:628-33.

15. Ustianowski PA. A clinical trial of Staphysagria in postcoital cystitis. Br Homoeopathic J 1974;63:276-7.

16. Saruggia M, Corghi E. Effects of homeopathic dilutions of China rubra on intradialytic symptomatology in patients treated with chronic haemodialysis. Br Homoeopathic J 1992;81:86-8.

17. Albertini H, Goldberg W, Sanguy, Toulza. Bilan de 60 observations randomisées. Hypericum - Arnica contre placébo dans les névralgies dentaries. Homéopathie 1984;1:47-9.

18. Weiser M, Strösser W, Klein P. Homeopathic vs convencional treatment of vertigo. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1998;124:879-85.

19. Wiesenauer M, Gaus W. Double-blind trial comparing the effectiveness of the homeopathic preparation Galphimia glauca potentisation D6, Galphimia glauca dilution 10-6 and placebo on pollinosis. Arzneim Forsch Drug Res 1985;35:1745-7.

20. Reilly DT, Taylor MA. Potent placebo or potency? A proposed study model with initial findings using homoeopathically prepared pollens in hay fever. BMJ 1985;74:65-75.

21. Reilly DT, Taylor MA, Mcsharry C, Aitchison T. Is homeopathy a placebo response? Controlled trial of homeopathy potency with pollen in hay fever as model. Lancet 1986;ii:881-5.

22. Reilly DT, Taylor MA, Beattie NGM, et al. Is evidence for homeopathy reproducible? Lancet 1994;344:1601-6.

23. Reilly DT, Taylor MA, McSharry C, et al. Randomised controlled trial of homoeopathy versus placebo in perennial allergic rhinitis with overview of four trial series. BMJ 2000;321:471-6.

24. Carlini A, Braz S, Lanfranco RP, et al. Efeito hipnótico de medicação homeopática e do placebo. Avaliação pela técnica de duplo-cego e cruzamento. Rev AMB 1987;33:83-8.

25. Andrade L, Ferraz MB, Atra E, et al. A randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of homeopathy in rheumatoid arthritis. Scan J Rheumatol 1991;20:204-8.

26. Jacobs J, Jimenez L, Gloyd S, et al. Homeopathic treatment of acute chidhood diarrhoea. A randomised clinical trial in Nicarágua. Br Homoeopathic J 1993;82:83-6.

27. Klerk ESM, Blommers J, Kuik DJ, et al. Effect of homeopathic medicines on daily burden of symptoms in children with recurrent upper respiratory tract infections. Br Homoeopathic J 1994;309:1329-32.


We have an extreme problem on this article and its talk page. I am sure the article will soon be destroyed and delisted, thanks to our "busy beavers" here.

The main problem is that the homeopathic promoters here are just here to push their profession, not write an NPOV encyclopedia article, and they perceive NPOV as unfair (if they understand NPOV at all; and no NPOV does not mean "neutral" with no criticism of homeopathy) and they do not understand that according to the rules of Wikipedia, this article and all others must be written mostly from the perspective of the mainstream. The Homeopathy people here are hostile to allopathy and to mainstream science and biostatistics etc. Homeopathy is not anywhere close to the mainstream.

Homeopathy is a WP:FRINGE area. Now I would humbly suggest that for those homeopathic promoters here, to please consider editing a wiki which is not subject to the same restrictions as Wikipedia is. Many wikis do not have NPOV as their editing criteria, and are not aimed at presenting the mainstream, scientific perspective like Wikipedia is. I would direct you to Para Wiki which is new and begging for contributions. You can probably get the name changed since it is very early days, to Alternative Wiki or Alter Wiki or NewAge Wiki or something. You will be more productive there than here, and you will get far more of your edits into an article on the internet and will not be bothered by scientists picking at you, or NPOV, or allopaths attacking you or any other such troubles. How about it?--Filll (talk) 00:21, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

If Para Wiki is your own project, I'd ask you to stop promoting it everywhere. I don't know if it qualifies as spam but it's really not helpful. There are other established wikis for sympathetic point of view, if you are interested. You would also be welcome to present your POV in such places as Wikinfo. —Whig (talk) 00:24, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Para Wiki is Jimbo's project. You want to criticize Jimbo and his project? Be my guest. --Filll (talk) 00:38, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

I also note that I and the allopathy supporters and the science supporters are not the editors with the problems with NPOV. And we are the editors who wrote this article, not the homeopathy supporters for the most part except Peter Morrell. So the mainstream editors have no problem with Wikipedia and its rules. So there is no reason for the mainstream science and medicine editors to leave Wikipedia.
Only the homeopathy supporters, or at least most of them, have a problem with the Wikipedia rules including NPOV. So it stands to reason that if anyone should leave, it is the homeopathy supporters who are unable or unwilling to abide by NPOV.--Filll (talk) 00:38, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
I did a search on "Para Wiki and Jimbo" but could find no mention of any connection. Are you saying because it is being hosted on Wikia it is therefore Jimbo's project? Anyhow, nobody seems interested and you've suggested it repeatedly across multiple forums. —Whig (talk) 00:47, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
You are free to reject it Whig. Do not say I did not give you multiple chances. It will be your funeral. Too bad you could not work cooperatively, but the evidence is now clear.--Filll (talk) 01:07, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Note to Filll, I neither am a supporter of homeopathy, nor am I unwilling to abide by NPOV. WP:NPOV/FAQ#Pseudoscience is in fact what I keep referencing. Give me an authoritative source which verifies that the scientific community generally considers Homeopathy to be a pseudosciene and I will have no issue with this Wikipedia article referring to it as such. Until then, to refer to it as such in this article would be in violation of this NPOV guideline. -- Levine2112 discuss 01:01, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Levine2112, since you (1) keep repeating you are not a homeopathy supporter, this is clearly a sign that you are one and (2) behave exactly like a homeopathy supporter and promoter, this starts to get old and looks foolish frankly. And I do not give a hoot about the pseudoscience box or category. I am talking about the overall tone and direction, as is determined by the principles of Wikipedia and the fighting against this I have seen in the edit wars and here on the talk page. Last I checked, the article was about 40% antihomeopathy, and 60% pro homeopathy. This has been reduced and the article is probably about 30% antihomeopathy now, and 70% pro homeopathy. But still on the talk page and on the mainpage homeopathy supporters are fighting and complaining. This is because they do not understand NPOV. This must stop and it will stop, one way or another. By NPOV, this article COULD be written to be 95% or 99% antihomeopathy, so just stick a cork in it and stop complaining. I am trying to find an option where you can edit unimpeded by rules and guidelines that you disagree with and do not understand. So take me up on it, or we will see what happens next.--Filll (talk) 01:13, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

You need proof of the claim to put up the Psci box in accordance to wikipedia policy. Once the proof is obtained I will consider supporting the inclusion of the box, even against consensus. Anthon01 (talk) 00:26, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

What the heck is the Psci box?--Filll (talk) 00:38, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Psci = Pseudoscience. I'm getting tired of typing it. Sorry. Anthon01 (talk) 00:44, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Me too. Wikipedia requires some authoritative source to verify that the scientific community generally considers homeopathy to be pseudoscientific. Note to Fill: I don't think it is productive to effectively tell editors with whom you disagree to leave Wikipedia. -- Levine2112 discuss 00:29, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Consensus is an inherent part of the Wikipedia editing process. I suggest that all editors who sincerely desire to improve the article on homeopathy read "Reasonable consensus-building" at the Wikipedia policy page on consensus. Arion 3x3 (talk) 00:32, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

WP:kettle. Tim gave good solid refs for the inclusion of the box, yet people kept deleting it. Then Anthon ran to the admin that put the PP on and asked for it to be extended (to the length of the previous protection) and one could guess it is also because his version is the one that stuck. Baegis (talk) 00:43, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

If that is the case Baegis, I warrant that Anthon could use a good week or two week block to contemplate the situation and his obstreperousness.--Filll (talk) 01:16, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Good guess but not the case. I think the last recess (ring-ring) worked fine. The edit is way against consensus. It shouldn't be added until we work this out. We need way more that 24 hours to resolve this dispute. If editors are expecting to get a second chance on the page within 24 hours, they will not be working towards consensus. Anthon01 (talk) 00:48, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Page full-protected for 24 hrs

Due to an ongoing active edit war on the page, with two sides having many times added, removed, re-added, re-removed, etc. the infobox I have full protected the article page.

Please discuss on the talk page.

Thank you.

Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 00:29, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Are ther any reliable sources that argue that homeopathy is not a pseudoscience 2?

Of course there are:

All the metanalyses (besides the 2005) one and the studies which are already in use in the article write about promising studies and results in homeopathy, more or less, theurapeutic effect over placebo. None of the metanalyses have used this term even the 2005 one.

It is very easy to provide quotes. Should I do it?

I challenge everyone to name a topic which scientists keep studying and call for more research even thought they believe it is pseudoscience.Name one.Please. --Area69 (talk) 01:00, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

See below. Baegis (talk) 01:03, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
(ec)I don't see any evidence that the scientific community, broadly speaking, does call for more research. As far as I'm able to ascertain, the scientific community considers the question closed. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 01:05, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
read the sources in the article: and you will see them. I will help you if you want.--Area69 (talk) 01:10, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Which article? Sarcasticidealist (talk) 01:15, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

What is the point of this? If none is found the the Psci box is justified? THat would be contrary to WP policy. Instead find the citations that say it is. Anthon01 (talk) 01:39, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Clearly tendentitious and tortuous argumentation, in a WP:POINTy fashion.--Filll (talk) 01:48, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't think so. In order to add text you need a reference in accordance with WP:RS. Anthon01 (talk) 01:54, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

You have been given several sources here. There are many more in the history of this page. I can get dozens more. And you still repetively ask for the same material over and over you have already seen. And I think this gets close to something that requires a block so you can contemplate your behavior. What do you think?--Filll (talk) 02:05, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Those sources don't prove that the consensus of science believe homeopathy = Psci. You need an Science Academy stating it. Anthon01 (talk) 02:14, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
So basically, you are so demanding that there are only 11 groups in the entire world that can officially declare homeopathy a pseudoscience? Are you freakin' kidding me? Baegis (talk) 02:25, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

I do not care what you think particularly about that issue, since I know you have a bias. And we both know I can bury you in references of all kinds on this issue.

But right now, why do you not answer my question below about what NPOV is. Tell me what you think NPOV is and what sort of view the articles on Wikipedia are required to have. Give me your interpretation in your own words.--Filll (talk) 02:19, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Ref's so far for inclusion

I have listed six ref's for inclusion of the box. I invite everyone to look at them. The case is now firmly on the shoulders of those against the box.

  1. National Science Board Subcommittee on Science & Engineering Indicators (2000). "Science and Technology: Public Attitudes and Public Understanding Science Fiction and Pseudoscience". National Science Foundation. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
    Words to note: According to one group studying such phenomena - one group does not represent the scientific community in general. -- Levine2112 discuss 01:07, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
  2. "NCAHF Position Paper on Homeopathy". National Council Against Health Fraud. 1994. Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
    Terrible example. NCAHF is a biased organization whose members pay themselves from their own donations to act as their own expert witnesses. Sorry, these guys hardly represent skeptics, let alone the scientific community in general. -- Levine2112 discuss 01:07, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
  3. Beyerstein, BL (1997). "Distinguishing Science from Pseudoscience" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
    Again, one guy's opinion doth not the scientific community make. His analysis isn't all that scientific either. More like mudslinging. Sorry, it's hard to take this one seriously. -- Levine2112 discuss 01:11, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
  4. Pseudoscience, the paranormal, and science education Science & Education Volume 3, Number 4 / October, 1994 - p359 "Pseudoscientific beliefs are also widespread. Consider the wide acceptance by the general public of astrology - a paradigm case of a pseudoscience s - as well as of pseudoscientific medical theories and techniques such as iridology, chiropractic, homeopathy 9 and also of Erich von Dgniken's ancient astronaut theory. 1°"
    One guy's opinion again. -- Levine2112 discuss 01:12, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
  5. The homeopathy problem in contemporary medicine Ann Ital Med Int. 1999 Jul-Sep;14(3):172-84. "Homeopathy is a doctrine that can be rationally criticized from three standpoints. First, its content contrasts radically with current scientific knowledge of chemistry, pharmacology, and pathology. Second, despite the fact that homeopathic specialists claim many therapeutic successes, the small number of rigorous studies conducted have not as yet provided convincing evidence that homeopathic treatment is effective against particular disease processes. Third, from a methodological standpoint, homeopathy has a number of serious flaws: above all, it violates both the principle of falsifiability enunciated by Karl Popper as a criterion for the demarcation between science and pseudo-science, and the principle of operative definition. Homeopathy cannot therefore be considered a scientific discipline."
    Two guys' opinions. -- Levine2112 discuss 01:13, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
  6. Complementary and Alternative Cancer Medicine J Clin Oncol. 1999 Nov;17(11 Suppl):44-52. "Vigorous opposition to parts of CAM as ‘‘pseudo science’’ based on ‘‘absurd beliefs’’ has been voiced. The deviation from basic scientific principles, which is implicit in homeopathy and therapeutic touch, for example, is decried."
    One guy's opinion. -- Levine2112 discuss 01:18, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

So, review at your leisure. These refs will be thrown in, if they aren't already in the article, and the box re-added, unless compelling evidence is brought forth. Baegis (talk) 01:02, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Levine, I warn you that you are striving very hard to make a WP:Pointy case. What do you want for inclusion? A giant billboard from "the scientific community" that states: "Homeopathy is pseudoscience!"? Because it appears that is the only thing you are willing to accept. And stop breaking up the list, comments go below. You should know that. Baegis (talk) 01:12, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
No, I want a source which verifies that the scientific community as a whole generally considers Homeopathy to be a pseudoscience. The examples listed above are opinions from one or two people (or from a group of pseudoskeptics), none of which constitute the scientific community - even collectively. Given that we have similar sources stating the opposite - scientific research and doctrines supporting the scientific basis of homeopathy, it seems clearer to say that Homeopathy is a disputed or questionable science. -- Levine2112 discuss 01:18, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
We need a scientific body like National Academy of Science declaring homeopathy is Psci. Anthon01 (talk) 01:52, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Do you see that scientists have different opinions about it now? --Area69 (talk) 01:09, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

I also found a list of about 30 more. However, it gets tiresome fighting these same battles over and over and over against people who refuse to cooperate and who are involved in disruptive editing and tendentious tortuous argumentation. We need some consequences here to make people a bit more cooperative.--Filll (talk) 01:20, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

By the way, if an article appears in a peer-reviewed journal, it is not "one guy's opinion" if it has one author. It is a minimum of five guys; the editor, the author, and at least 3 reviewers. It might have up to 6 or more reviewers, and several editors. It could be 10 or more guys opinions. The fact that you claimed it was "one guy's opinion" either indicates you are supremely ignorant of the scientific process and therefore should recuse yourself from this dicussion because you have nothing whatsoever to contribute of any positive value, or you are being willfully disruptive and tendentitious and need to be called on your outrageous statements and behaviors.--Filll (talk) 01:24, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

The "consequences" should be that everyone read Wikipedia:Consensus. Consensus is an inherent part of the Wikipedia editing process. I suggest that all editors who sincerely desire to improve the article on homeopathy read "Reasonable consensus-building" at the Wikipedia policy page on consensus. Arion 3x3 (talk) 01:26, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

In my personal experience of watching and editing this page and the talk page for 9 months or so, I have only seen one homeopathy supporter who actually was interested in consensus and was knowledgable of NPOV and willing to work within the constraints of NPOV. I have seen dozens of others who were not interested in consensus and unwilling to work within NPOV.--Filll (talk) 01:30, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Special interest groups opposed to various targets are not unusual, and usually not representative of the majority they claim to represent. NCAHF is about as "authoritative" in speaking for science as "Quackwatch" is. What we have been presented with are links to a series of biased opinion pieces. Arion 3x3 (talk) 01:32, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

I see some peer-reviewed journal articles in real scientific and medical journals. And these are not "opinion pieces". And that is what Wikipedia is based on; peer-reviewed mainstream science and medicine. If you do not like it, you do not agree with NPOV and should go somewhere where you do not have to deal with NPOV.--Filll (talk) 01:36, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Stop trying to get editors to leave with whom you disagree.
The "peer-review" process needs to be exposed for what it really is. It tends to become peer pressure to not go too far afield of subjects that might receive potential funding allocated to the institution that the particular author is associated with. If he wants to think "outside of the box" and tackle subjects are are not mainstream (like homeopathy), he will be endangering the financial flow to his institution. So there is that money angle that we can not be blind to and ignore. Arion 3x3 (talk) 01:47, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Let's be realistic here and stop resorting to conspiracy theories. It only further reinforces the case for disruptive editing. Baegis (talk) 01:50, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Stop labeling simple facts "conspiracy theories". Those of us who have had to deal with just such real life situations, and have been warned not to bring up or write about subjects "outside of the mainstream" - or we lose our position at the university, know exactly what we are talking about. Arion 3x3 (talk) 01:58, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
You do not have any business editing an NPOV article with that attitude. Go to a wiki that is amenable to your conspiracy theories.--Filll (talk) 02:02, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Again, stop trying to get editors to leave with whom you disagree. Arion 3x3 (talk) 02:18, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

You show you can abide by the rules or you leave. Seems pretty clear to me. --Filll (talk) 03:25, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Reference 6 of the above original topic is from the Journal of Clinical Oncology, a highly significant journal with an acceptance rate of just 23%. It is unclear if this article was peer reviewed, however all articles are carefully selected (as is clear from the acceptance rate). The article itself however does not discuss homeopathy otherwise, merely mentioning it in passing regarding herbal pills. Regarding the box itself, a cursory scan of current pseudoscience articles revealed it to not currently be in common usage. I would assume also that the MOS would prefer that any content be in the prose of the article lead. LinaMishima (talk) 04:36, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Do you think you know NPOV?

For those of you who object so strenuously to scientific and allopathic medicine views, what do you actually think NPOV is? Can you explain your position to me? --Filll (talk) 01:36, 26 January 2008 (UTC)


NPOV is not the issue here. WP:CONSENSUS is. The problem here is that both of us, pro- and anti-, are making controversial edits to the article when there is clearly a large debate going on here on the talk page. That is the reason why the article was locked; and that is the reason why it is probably a good idea to extend the lock for as long as it takes for all of us to reach a decision. I am sure it is fun to hurl links about rules at each other and quote allopathic screeds; however, it makes more sense for us to collude together and try to the reach an acceptable consensus. After all, if we end up with a permanent block on the article then its going to make us look like we are not very good at editing Wikipedia.

I did some research and its seems that there already a number of forums available that can help us resolve this unfortunate dilemma. I will list them here so see if anyone else is interested in using them to resolve our dispute.

those are my possibly suggestions on how to move forward form an atmosphere of anger and hostility to one of at least cordial respect and cooperation. Anyone interested in trying one (or more) of them? Smith Jones (talk) 02:18, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

NPOV trumps everything else. It is preeminent. You cannot have consensus to edit against NPOV. And you have no consensus for your POV edits.--Filll (talk) 03:34, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

I have translated your Appalachian scrawl to be readable.
I can guarantee you that none of the dispute resolution methods are going to be helpful to the true believers. The article is never going to satisfy them because our policies are not going to put a positive spin on homeopathy. Our reliable sources show it for what it is: a strange old 19th century folk theory with no evidence of any utility. You, particularly, have not contributed anything to the talk page that has been constructive in coming to a solution, other than to hurl accusations and sermonizing about "the truth of homeopathy." The article is not likely to be protected again. It is more likely that editors who cannot edit collaboratively will be blocked. SchmuckyTheCat (talk)
considering that almost noone here has been able to edit collaboritively thus far, that probably means that everyone who has ever editted on this talk page would be blocked. the problem here is that everyone refuses to compromise. right now you just finished accusing me of not trying to come to a solution even though i just listed 5 possible solutions, any one of whom (except for ArbCom, obviously) can be tried tiright now. I am trying to assume good fiath with all of you but for some reason you have decided that i am not to be accorded that same courtesy. if that's the way you feel, fine. i will continue to try to work with you, and when the article gets unprotected we can go through this same ritual all ov er again. It is not productive and it is not conducive, and the attitude here will never lead to a collaborative success wil enver be useful, but if that is the way it has to be then fine. See you late. Smith Jones (talk) 05:00, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
If one group of editors were to say the Earth is flat and another group were to say it is round, it would not benefit Wikipedia for the groups to compromise and say the Earth is shaped like a calzone. Raymond Arritt (talk) 05:09, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
But what a delicious compromise it would be! Baegis (talk) 05:12, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
With a soft red wine (the pro-homeopathy editors get their wine diluted 30X). Raymond Arritt (talk) 05:26, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Remember, I contend that any light beer brewed in the United States, is actually homeopathic beer, because it's been diluted so much, that anyone drinking it, only imagines that it's really beer. But it makes one urinate like it was beer. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 06:33, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Simply because the water it contains has retained the memory of the urine it once was. &#0149;Jim62sch&#0149; 07:01, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
I thought so. Well, that pretty much sums up both Light Beer and Homeopathy. Neither of them are very good. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 07:04, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Are there any reliable sources that argue that homeopathy is not a pseudoscience? yes

Many scientists regard homeopathy as pseudoscience. True. Some others disagree. For instance almost all the studies and metanalyses which are already cited in the article they write about promising studies and positive results. No one writes that homeopathy is just pseudoscience but they call for more research.

This is controversial topic therefore the category pseudoscience should be removed because it is a violation of NPOV. It could be included in the article though as one point of view. --Area69 (talk) 05:15, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Studies already in the article ( most of them ) which DONT regard homeopathy as pseudoscience

that at the moment the evidence of clinical trials is positive but not sufficient to draw definitive conclusions because most trials are of low methodological quality and because of the unknown role of publication bias..This indicates that there is a legitimate case for further evaluation of homoeopathy [26]

Lancet. 1997 Sep 20;350(9081):834-43. Another metanalysis concluded “that the results are not compatible with the hypothesis that the clinical effects of homeopathy are completely due to placebo but there was insufficient evidence from these studies that homeopathy is clearly efficacious for any single clinical condition [27]

“The majority of available trials seem to report positive results but the evidence is not convincing”. INTERPRETATION: Reviews on homeopathy often address general questions. While the evidence is promising for some topics the findings of the available reviews are unlikely to end the controversy on this therapy.

Cucherat M, Haugh MC, Gooch M, Boissel JP. Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Hospitals of Lyon and University Claude Bernard, France.

CONCLUSIONS: There is some evidence that homeopathic treatments are more effective than placebo; however, the strength of this evidence is low because of the low methodological quality of the trials quality were more likely to be negative than the lower quality studies. Further high quality studies are needed to confirm these results.

[28] When only high-quality studies have been selected for analysis (such as those with adequate randomization, blinding, sample size, and other methodologic criteria that limit bias), a surprising number show positive results

Despite skepticism about the plausibility of homeopathy, some randomized, placebo-controlled trials and laboratory research report unexpected effects of homeopathic medicines. However, the evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy for specific clinical conditions is scant, is of uneven quality, and is generally poorer quality than research done in allopathic medicine (61). More and better research is needed, unobstructed by belief or disbelief in the system (62). Until homeopathy is better understood, it is important that physicians be open-minded about homeopathy's possible value and maintain communication with patients who use it.

Homeopathic remedies for the treatment of osteoarthritis: a systematic review. The clinical evidence appears promising, however, and more research into this area seems warranted. [29] --Area69 (talk) 05:15, 26 January 2008 (UTC)


This selective quotation is preposterous. The first two of the four sources (the same source) above was reviewed 14 years later in PMID 16125589 which states:

  • "Biases are present in placebo-controlled trials of both homoeopathy and conventional medicine. When account was taken for these biases in the analysis, there was weak evidence for a specific effect of homoeopathic remedies, but strong evidence for specific effects of conventional interventions. This finding is compatible with the notion that the clinical effects of homoeopathy are placebo effects."

Here are quotes from the other three sources:

  • "There is a lack of conclusive evidence on the effectiveness of homeopathy"[30]
  • "The authors conclude that the small number of randomised clinical trials conducted to date, although favouring homeopathic treatment, do not allow a firm conclusion as to the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies"[31]

If we cite any of those sources, we need to represent them fairly by at least summarizing the excerpts above. MilesAgain (talk) 05:26, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

There are already cited. --Area69 (talk) 05:29, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
1.Not true. Was not reviewed. This is a different and only one study which as I swrote before that it writes that homepathy = placebo.
2. You dont read the whole study. You just took one sentence. I wrote the whole paragraph.
3. do not allow a firm conclusion as to the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies" is not equal that homeopathy = pseudoscience especially if you decide to read the whole study. --Area69 (talk) 05:45, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Are you claiming that PMID 16125589 did not include PMID 1825800 in the literature review which is explicitly described in the abstract? If so, for what reason? MilesAgain (talk) 06:12, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
As I said this is one study only which as you can see has been characterized as biased. All the other studies speak positively about homeopathy in their conclusions. You can see it above. --Area69 (talk) 06:23, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

The article Where Does Homeopathy Fit in Pharmacy Practice? [32] clearly states about the 2005 Lancet meta-analysis:

"In contrast to findings by Kleijnen and Linde, a 2005 meta-analysis by Shang et al that was published in Lancet found that the efficacy of homeopathic treatment was no different than placebo. However, this study has been highly criticized for being methodologically flawed on many levels. Of particular concern, the researchers eliminated 102 of 110 homeopathic trials and based their conclusions on only the 8 largest high-quality trials without clearly identifying the criteria by which these trials were selected or the identity of these trials. Odds ratios calculated before the exclusions (on all 110 trials) do not support their ultimate conclusion that homeopathic interventions are no better than placebo."

An encyclopedia article on homeopathy or any other subject should not be turned into a battleground of special interests seeking to have their own biased version prevail. As I have said before, this article must not be either a pro or anti homeopathy article, but a neutrally presented exposition of the subject, with opposing and supporting data presented in their own respective sections. It is also not the role of any editor here to pass judgment on which research data passes their personal litmus test to qualify for inclusion in this article. Arion 3x3 (talk) 05:41, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Edit protected

{{edit protected}} Could somebody add {{Merge from|Arsenicum album|Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Arsenicum album}} to the Dilution and succssion section?

That is totally inappropriate! Arion 3x3 (talk) 05:43, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
It is totally appropriate. TableMannersC·U·T 06:23, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. TableMannersC·U·T 06:23, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

BBC program, Horizon, video source

This BBC Horizon (BBC TV series) video goes into detail on "dilution and succussion" and concludes "Science is confident: Homeopathy is impossible." TableMannersC·U·T 06:20, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

It could also be included. I agree. Its critism from reliable sources as well. Very easy to be found --Area69 (talk) 06:25, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Video's make bad sources. It's not peer-reviewed. It's not even reliable. But I like what it says of course. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 06:31, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
I thought that BBC was reliable according to Wiki Policy.--Area69 (talk) 06:34, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Uh no. Read WP:SOURCES. Peer reviewed and published is the highest level. A BBC video, though better than say a video from the International Homeopathy Association and Online Store, isn't really reliable. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 06:40, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Material from reliable non-academic sources may also be used in these areas, particularly if they are respected mainstream publications.--Area69 (talk) 06:43, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Once again, not a video. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 06:46, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
It has a transcript. See: And a program summary. And other information. This is more than just a video. TableMannersC·U·T 07:28, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Why dont you remove james randi's video then?--Area69 (talk) 06:48, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
I only care about the lead. Don't really care about much else on the article. This article, if it stabilizes enough for a real GA or FA, will be cleaned up significantly. The sources are often bad, except in the lead.OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 06:52, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
I see.--Area69 (talk) 06:56, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Sorry for edit warring in the Homeopathy#Evaluation_of_homeopathic_dillution. However, the video program has a slew of pages on the program, including transcript. Also, my reading of Wikipedia:Reliable_source_examples#Science_article_in_the_popular_press says the 20/20 program and the BBC program are reliable sources, especially if quoted with attribution (e.g., "BBC reported", "ABC reported"). Lastly, the BBC and ABC are secondary sources that will better establish a WP foundation for citing primary sources. However, if you still protest, let me know why on the talk page, and I will revert myself, if Area69 does not. TableMannersC·U·T 07:34, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree that the video should be included with its critisism. --Area69 (talk) 07:46, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Okay, I agree that the program should be used as a source. A compromise (per OM's suggestion): the williams/horizon reference stays in. The BBC web page describing the program is the main reference link. A link to the program transcript at the BBC website is also provided in the reference. Removed the quote from the reference as it is annoying, but kept it in the article. I also removed the video link from the external links because: 1. The Youtube title is not the program title. 2. The youtube video is probably a copyright violation and 3. it is probably a violation of WP:EL if we are using the transcript as a reference. If we can find a BBC video we could add it back into the external links if others disagree with this compromise. The wording of actual quotation could use some improvement, I admit. But I think the ABC and BBC sources are good per Wikipedia:Reliable source examples#Science article in the popular press TableMannersC·U·T 07:53, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
  1. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference shang was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Ernst E (2005). "Is homeopathy a clinically valuable approach?". Trends Pharmacol. Sci. 26 (11): 547–8. PMID 16165225. ; Johnson T, Boon H (2007). "Where does homeopathy fit in pharmacy practice?". American journal of pharmaceutical education. 71 (1): 7. PMID 17429507. 
  3. ^ Ernst E (2005). "Is homeopathy a clinically valuable approach?". Trends Pharmacol. Sci. 26 (11): 547–8. PMID 16165225. ; Johnson T, Boon H (2007). "Where does homeopathy fit in pharmacy practice?". American journal of pharmaceutical education. 71 (1): 7. PMID 17429507. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Ernst E (2001). "Rise in popularity of complementary and alternative medicine: reasons and consequences for vaccination". Vaccine. 20 Suppl 1: S90–3; discussion S89. PMID 11587822. 
  6. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference pmid9243229 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference pmid8554846 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference malaria1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  9. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference pmid11082104 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  10. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference malaria2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  11. ^ a b Ernst E, Pittler MH (1998). "Efficacy of homeopathic arnica: a systematic review of placebo-controlled clinical trials". Archives of surgery (Chicago, Ill. : 1960). 133 (11): 1187–90. PMID 9820349. 
  12. ^ Ernst E (2001). "Rise in popularity of complementary and alternative medicine: reasons and consequences for vaccination". Vaccine. 20 Suppl 1: S90–3; discussion S89. PMID 11587822. 
  13. ^ Ernst E (2001). "Rise in popularity of complementary and alternative medicine: reasons and consequences for vaccination". Vaccine. 20 Suppl 1: S90–3; discussion S89. PMID 11587822.