Talk:Homeopathy: Difference between revisions

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(→‎Homeopathists are upset: Fine - I don't care.)
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::::Agree with Alex. We are not here to provide a soapbox for quacks, frauds and con-artists that prey on gullible sick people and their loved ones. [[User:Dominus Vobisdu|Dominus Vobisdu]] ([[User talk:Dominus Vobisdu|talk]]) 08:59, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
 
::::Agree with Alex. We are not here to provide a soapbox for quacks, frauds and con-artists that prey on gullible sick people and their loved ones. [[User:Dominus Vobisdu|Dominus Vobisdu]] ([[User talk:Dominus Vobisdu|talk]]) 08:59, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
 
:::::Good grief. [[User:Cla68|Cla68]] ([[User talk:Cla68|talk]]) 13:33, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
 
:::::Good grief. [[User:Cla68|Cla68]] ([[User talk:Cla68|talk]]) 13:33, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
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::::: We're following Wikipedia's guidelines as close as we can here. The root of the complaint (although the complainers may not understand it) is that Wikipedia is heavily mainstream-science based. Since homeopathy is so widely rejected by the mainstream, there is really no chance that it's going to be treated in the way the proponents wish.
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::::: Like most of these kinds of debate, it all comes down to "What kind of encyclopedia is Wikipedia". We don't have to apologize for taking the mainstream science view...that's what Wikipedia is. The simple answer for people who don't like our rules is to set up their own encyclopedia with the rules ''they'' like...and indeed, there are several efforts to do exactly that out on the Internet.
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::::: The problem with ''that'' is that the pro-fringe folks realize that these other encyclopedias are getting very little readership...so they want to put their views into Wikipedia, where they'll be seen more widely. What they don't get is that the ''reason'' that Wikipedia is the fifth (or so) most popular site on the Internet is precisely ''because'' we have the rules and values that we do.
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::::: In effect, the public has voted for Wikipedia and against encyclopedias with different rules...and that's why we shouldn't change our rules...and if the rules don't change - then we're not going to change this article to be more friendly to the Homeopathists.
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::::: [[User:SteveBaker|SteveBaker]] ([[User talk:SteveBaker|talk]]) 17:58, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

Revision as of 17:58, 11 October 2014

The Arbitration Committee has issued several principles which may be helpful to editors of this and other articles when dealing with subjects and categories related to "pseudoscience".

Principles

Four groups

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Many of these questions arise frequently on the talk page concerning homeopathy.

Information.svg To view an explanation to the answer, click the [show] link to the right of the question.

Q1: Should material critical of homeopathy be in the article? (Yes.)
A1: Yes. Material critical of homeopathy must be included in the article. The articles on Wikipedia include information from all significant points of view. This is summarized in the policy pages which can be accessed from the Neutral point of view policy. This article strives to conform to Wikipedia policies, which dictate that a substantial fraction of articles in fringe areas be devoted to mainstream views of those topics.
Q2: Should material critical of homeopathy be in the lead? (Yes.)
A2: Yes. Material critical of homeopathy belongs in the lead section. The lead must contain a summary of all the material in the article, including the critical material. This is described further in the Lead section guideline.
Q3: Is the negative material in the article NPOV? (Yes.)
A3: Yes. Including negative material is part of achieving a neutral article. A neutral point of view does not necessarily equate to a sympathetic point of view. Neutrality is achieved by including all points of view – both positive and negative – in rough proportion to their prominence.
Q4: Does Wikipedia consider homeopathy a fringe theory? (Yes.)
A4: Yes. Homeopathy is described as a fringe medical system in sources reliable to make the distinction.[1] This is defined by the Fringe theories guideline, which explains: We use the term fringe theory in a very broad sense to describe ideas that depart significantly from the prevailing or mainstream view in its particular field of study.

Since the collective weight of peer-reviewed studies does not support the efficacy of homeopathy, it departs significantly enough from the mainstream view of science to be considered a fringe theory.

References

  1. ^ Jonas, WB; Ives, JA (February 2008). "Should we explore the clinical utility of hormesis". Human & Experimental Toxicology. 27 (2): 123–127. PMID 18480136.
Q5: Should studies that show that homeopathy does not work go into the article? (Yes.)
A5: Yes. Studies that show that homeopathy does not work are part of a full treatment of the topic and should go into the article. Wikipedia is not the place to right great wrongs. Non-experts have suggested that all the studies that show homeopathy does not work are faulty studies and are biased, but this has not been borne out by the mainstream scientific community.
Q6: Should another article called "Criticism of homeopathy" be created? (No.)
A6: No. Another article called "Criticism of homeopathy" should not be created. This is called a "POV fork" and is discouraged.
Q7: Should alleged proof that homeopathy works be included in the article? (No.)
A7: No. Alleged proof that homeopathy works should not be included in the article. That is because no such proof has come from reliable sources. If you have found a reliable source, such as an academic study, that you think should be included, you can propose it for inclusion on the article’s talk page. Note that we do not have room for all material, both positive and negative. We try to sample some of each and report them according to their prominence. Note also that it is not the job of Wikipedia to convince those people who do not believe homeopathy works, nor to dissuade those who believe that it does work, but to accurately describe how many believe and how many do not believe and why.
Q8: Should all references to material critical of homeopathy be put in a single section in the article? (No.)
A8: No. Sources critical of homeopathy should be integrated normally in the course of presenting the topic and its reception, not shunted into a single criticism section. Such segregation is generally frowned upon as poor writing style on Wikipedia.
Q9: Should the article mention that homeopathy might work by some as-yet undiscovered mechanism? (No.)
A9: No. The article should not mention that homeopathy might work by some as-yet undiscovered mechanism. Wikipedia is not a place for original research or speculation.
Q10: Is the article with its negative material biased? (No.)
A10: No. The article with its negative material is not biased. The article must include both positive and negative views according to the policies of Wikipedia.
Q11: Should the article characterize homeopathy as a blatant fraud and quackery? (No.)
A11: No. Inflammatory language does not serve the purpose of an encyclopedia; it should only be done if essential to explain a specific point of view and must be supported from a reliable source. Wikipedia articles must be neutral and reflect information found in reliable sources. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and not a consumer guide so while scientific sources commonly characterise homeopathy as nonsense, fraud, pseudoscience and quackery - and the article should (and does) report this consensus - ultimately the reader should be allowed to draw his/her own conclusions.
Former good articleHomeopathy was one of the Natural sciences good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
DateProcessResult
September 14, 2006Good article nomineeNot listed
September 27, 2007Good article nomineeListed
October 8, 2007Good article reassessmentDelisted
October 13, 2007Good article reassessmentDelisted
October 19, 2007Peer reviewReviewed
October 25, 2007Good article nomineeListed
February 9, 2008Peer reviewReviewed
March 2, 2009Peer reviewReviewed
April 4, 2009Featured article candidateNot promoted
November 2, 2012Good article reassessmentDelisted
Current status: Delisted good article


Bias or accurate information about homeopathy

I think that the article summarizes wrongly the available data - concluding that homeopathy is placebo. Several other users say similar things - and from what I see they are threatened ( that they will be banned ) to stop even discussing the matter in the talk page. IS this allowed in wikipedia ? I provided appropriate sources above. --John19322 (talk) 01:54, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

I see what you mean John. I for one, feel that I have been hounded off even this Talk page!—Khabboos (talk) 09:23, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

The article summarizes the scientific consensus correctly, and no editor is "hounded off" the page. However, it is valuable to first a) read the article entirely and b) check the archives before starting the same discussion again and again. As a sidenote i find it curious that every n days some new editor shows up and brings up the same old arguments again. Rka001 (talk) 10:35, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

Technophant also feels that he is being 'wikihounded'. May be you can tell us where to complain.—Khabboos (talk) 14:15, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
A1candidate thinks that a user is accusing him of having a COI which is completely untrue.—Khabboos (talk) 14:21, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, Technophant took their complaint to WP:ANI, and that worked out really well for them, perhaps you should try it, too? Yobol (talk) 14:24, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
As far as I can see A1candidate has made only three edits to this talk page (all within the last couple of weeks) and one edit to the article (a few months ago), and Technophant doesn't seem to have edited here at all. There doesn't seem to be any evidence that either of them is being threatened with, or accused of, anything in connection with this talk page, or discouraged from editing here. Brunton (talk) 20:23, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

The problem here is that this question of bias in the article has been debated a bazillion times. It's been pushed up the Wikipedia hierarchy of dispute resolution all the way to the very, very top. So now it's like a lawyer who's lost his final appeal to the Supreme Court...you're done, there is nowhere left to go. The conclusion of all of that debate is that within the rules governing Wikipedia, this article is just fine the way it is.

However, the inability of the pro-Homeopathy crowd to accept this decision results in people coming here at roughly n-day intervals (n~=12) to dispute it. While it's normally very VERY good to come to debate neutrality and reliability in articles, there comes a point when the question has been answered, fully and completely, and further debate is unproductive. We're well beyond that point. This article is 100% acceptable within Wikipedia rules - and it's never going to change in that regard until/unless the rules of Wikipedia change in some dramatic and totally unforseen way - or there is some major mainstream breakthrough that shows that everything that's previously been said about Homeopathy is wrong.

For that reason, continually returning here to attempt to start off another debate is (in Wikipedia parlance) "DISRUPTIVE EDITING". Again, in most articles, you can get away with a little disruption - but here, because it's been discussed, re-discussed, pushed up the hierarchy all the way to ArbCom and back - we have been officially labelled as being under "discretionary sanctions" - which means that we have a very low tolerance for disruptive behavior on this specific talk page and any others where Homeopathy is discussed.

That's explained in several ways and in several places here - and I'm telling you it again now.

So: Persist in doing this - and you'll almost certainly be banned.

The ONLY ways to change this article to be more like what you want are either:

  1. Get the rules underpinning the whole of Wikipedia changed. (And this is most certainly the wrong forum to discuss making that happen.)
  2. Find new, mainstream research, acceptable under the WP:MEDRS rules that clearly and unambiguously overturns a good fraction of the WP:MEDRS references that we already have. To be VERY clear about this...before you go posting yet another reference - it's up to YOU PERSONALLY to read back through our archives to be sure that the paper you are about to push under our noses hasn't already been discussed...AND for YOU, PERSONALLY to be sure that it's acceptable under the WP:MEDRS guidelines.

If you persist in just randomly demanding "justice" - or re-posting the same arguments and the same, rejected theories, papers, articles, etc - then because your actions are disruptive to people who are trying to improve this article according to Wikipedias rules - it is highly likely that YOU WILL BE BANNED. You can see how this has already happened to at least one other editor - so be assured that the ArbCom decision has teeth here.

So, there's your warning...you are no longer unaware of the rules..now please go away and leave us to get on with writing an encyclopedia.

SteveBaker (talk) 15:08, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

Incidentally, @John19322:, you mentioned that you posted sources above on the page. Under what account? As far as I can tell, you only created the John19322 account a few days ago, and you've only made one edit (to start this thread) to this talk page. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:44, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Probably got a bit confused as to which account he was using.SkepticalRaptor (talk) 19:22, 29 July 2014 (UTC)

Whomever wrote the above rant ending with "So, there's your warning...you are no longer unaware of the rules..now please go away and leave us to get on with writing an encyclopedia", you are a perfect example of what is wrong in the world: a stubbornness of a god-complex and inability to listen to civilized discourse on ever-changing subjects. That is what writing an encyclopedia should be about. There is no final word on ANYTHING. If you think it's all been figured out, I feel quite awful for you and for all of the negativity you are spreading into this world. Shame on you, and SHAME ON YOU FOR THREATENING PEOPLE on wikipedia. "There's your warning" indeed! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 64.186.123.88 (talk) 03:31, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

I'm afraid you're misinformed. Yes, there most certainly is a final word - and that's ArbCom - and they've spoken. Their rulings are authoritative and have teeth. I'm not threatening you - I'm merely telling you what has been ruled upon - and by people far more experienced and capable in the ways of the wiki than me.
We have listened to these arguments, many, many times. They've been taken through all the layers of Wikipedia's dispute resolution, all the way up to ArbCom - which is the very last step. ArbCom have ruled that the way this article discusses Homeopathy is the way Wikipedia's rules say it should be written. In the face of that, further discussion along those same lines is pointless, and it's been repeated so many times that it's become disruptive, and that's no longer going to be tolerated by edict from the highest authority we have around here.
If, on the other hand, you have something genuinely new to bring to the table - some line of thought that has yet to be considered - and you've checked back through the archives and are quite certain it's not already been discussed, then you're very welcome to open a debate along those lines.
SteveBaker (talk) 04:11, 15 August 2014 (UTC)

On that note Steve could I comment on the information regarding preperation, this is I feel needs more explanation than that presently presented Consider changing to Mortar and pestle is used for grinding insoluble solids, including Silica and Hepar sulphuris calcareum (an impure sulphide of calcium prepared by burning in a crucible, the white interior of oyster shells with pure flowers of sulphur), into homeopathic remedies" (----)opps should be my mistake (JoeEverett (talk) 18:51, 21 August 2014 (UTC))

That's tricky. You can't really say that this technique is correct and that technique is incorrect when neither technique is actually having any effect on the patient. It doesn't matter a damn how you grind up the thing that you're going to dilute into oblivion. What makes matters worse is that there is no "One True Way" for homeopathists - they don't all agree about how to do things. So even getting a reference for "Homeopathists claim that one should grind solids like this and not like that" is difficult. SteveBaker (talk) 02:00, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

A conversation on the Homeopathy's basis and logic can be seen here. It might be worthwhile to see it — Preceding unsigned comment added by 117.217.229.18 (talk) 05:12, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

2 kinds of fraud

Homeopathy is characterized by false beliefs. But also by fraud by the promoter who knows it does not heal, and contains only water. There are two different kinds of fraud going on. The first is the claim to have efficacy in healing, when the marketer knows there is none. The second kind is pure marketing fraud. Bottles will have different labels when the marketer knows they contain exactly the same thing . There is not much information in this article about this second kind of fraud, which is characteristic of homeopathy in a different way than other alt med. Editors familiar with the vast literature of homeopathy might want to review it to add sources for content on this kind of homeopathy fraud. FloraWilde (talk) 18:42, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

I agree that it's bad to sell something that you know doesn't work...and it's pretty nasty to sell something as a wonderful advance in medicine that you merely guess might work without fully testing it. The former is fraud, but the latter is merely incompetence. I'm not sure which of those two things each Homeopathic treatment vendor is guilty of - and I don't see any reliable sources that show which it is - and you might need to do this determination on a case-by-case basis. Crying "fraud" is an overstatement of what we know here. Now, if someone could find and publish a memo from inside a homeopathic treatment manufacturer that clearly implicated them in one or the other of these things - then we might have something to say here. But absent some investigative journalism...who knows?
But you're also saying that it's fraudulent to offer the same treatment for two different diseases? That's hardly unreasonable - and mainstream drug companies do it all the time. Aspirin is sold both as a pain reliever, as a fever reducer, as an anti-inflammatory and as an antiplatelet agent to reduce the risk of heart attacks. That particular drug does indeed do all four of those things. If you just label it "Aspirin - for whatever" - then people wouldn't know when to buy it. So we end up with "Bayer Advanced Headache Relief" and "Bayer Heart Health Regimen". It's useful labeling.
I understand the desire to pile more guilt onto the idiots who sell Homeopathic 'treatments' - but let's try to stay within the bounds of fairness and truth.
SteveBaker (talk) 14:41, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
I am guessing that Flora means that, since a large number of homoeopathic "remedies" are chemically indistinguishable from water, they are effectively the same thing labelled differently. Black Kite (talk) 14:44, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
I agree with you - but it's no different from chemically indistinguishable Aspirin being labelled differently for use as a headache cure and a means for reducing the risk of heart attacks. I can't accept that as "Fraud".
SteveBaker (talk) 19:40, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
I'm actually kind of shocked no end user of Homeopathy has ever sued a practitioner for fraud, in the legal sense, after learning about its lack of efficacy. Aside from such a ruling we can't come close to using the word fraud in Wikipedia's voice. Though if a notable expert used it it could be attributable in a quotation. But that would be just the more prosaic meaning of the word, used commonly to describe anyone from politicians to sports figures caught in any hypocritical act. It's probably best to avoid terms whose common use and legal use aren't easily discernible without an impeccibale RS. Capeo (talk) 20:29, 11 August 2014 (UTC)
I can't speak specifically with regards to homeopathy, but the more clever purveyors of alternative medicines in the United States are careful to never actually make claims that would subject them to charges fraud. These companies seem to always have shills prepared to provide glowing online reviews of how the pills cured everything from renal failure to erectile dysfunction, and thus obviates the companies' need to make any claims themselves. Someguy1221 (talk) 02:17, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
"I'm actually kind of shocked no end user of Homeopathy has ever sued a practitioner for fraud". In respond to that comment, yes, they have been sued and Boirin lost. Boiron makes Oscillococcinum which is for flu and they could not defend themselves with respect to the active ingredient. The issue was that the active ingredient was not detectable. Anyway, the reality is that you cannot save people from themselves. There is always some anti-pharmaceutical company guy who thinks they are all evil money making schemes and Boiron and HomeoCan and such are the good guys. Vmelkon (talk) 20:13, 28 August 2014 (UTC)
It seems like you'd have reasonable grounds for complaint if it says that it contains oscillococcinum (ground duck liver) and there is none in the bottle. If you bought a can of chicken soup which had no detectible trace of chicken in it - and especially if you could show that they quite deliberately made sure there wasn't any in there(!) - then you'd have grounds to sue - right? I guess the question is whether they do actually list the duck liver as an "ingredient". (That said, when you buy a can of "Pork and Beans" here in the USA, the amount of pork in it comes close to being a homeopathic dose!) SteveBaker (talk) 02:12, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Homeopathic medicine for acute cough in upper respiratory tract infections and acute bronchitis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

They "concluded that the homeopathic syrup employed in the study was able to effectively reduce cough severity and sputum viscosity, thereby representing a valid remedy for the management of acute cough induced by URTIs.--BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 03:52, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

See WP:MEDRS. Brunton (talk) 07:51, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

"most frequently used CAM therapy for children in Europe"

I reverted this edit as I don't see how the sources that were cited support this statement.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1885188/ this source only mentions Scotland, and does not explicitly say that homeopathy is used more than any other CAM treatment, just that there was a substantial amount of its use, doesn't seem to contrast homeopathy with any other CAM methods either.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15948942 this source also only mentions Scotland and also does not seem to contrast the prevalence of homeopathy vs other CAM methods.
http://www.ccrhindia.org/dossier/content/page4.html this source does indeed support the statement I reverted but I have doubts of the reliability of the publisher, the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH), which is in India. The sources they use to cite their statement have similar problems: of the 6 sources they cite, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 4 are from Germany, 1 is from Norway, 1 is from Scotland. none of them explicitly support the CCRH's statement. 2 of them (1 and 6) do actually say that homeopathy is the most used CAM treatment but only for pediatric oncology patients, and these were also both from Germany. I simply don't see enough from the sources they use to support their statement that "Studies have identified Homoeopathy to be the most frequently used CAM therapy for children in European countries" and do not trust the CCRH enough to take their word for it. Cannolis (talk) 20:45, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

Good call. -- Brangifer (talk) 22:58, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

I agree with you cannolis, I will edit it accordingily (scotland instead of Europe and remove CCRH reference)Drpjkurian (talk) 05:41, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

I haven't bothered to read the sources but before you change it to say Scotland, Drpjkurian, make sure they actually support what you intend to add. From what I read above they don't.--Daffydavid (talk) 05:47, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Seconded. The first source just says that homeopathy is in use in Scotland and does seem to be on the rise, and then invites a critical review of this increase. The second one also just says it's used in pediatrics, albeit at a low level, and then questions whether or not the practitioners are fully aware of what is in the homeopathic remedies and when they are indicated. Neither one says that homeopathy is used more than any other CAM method. Cannolis (talk) 16:45, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
They are both based on figures from over a decade ago, so things may have changed since then, for example NHS Highland decided to withdraw funding for homoeopathy in 2010, and NHS Lothian in 2013. Brunton (talk) 18:03, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Study suggests that "homoeopathy could enhance anatomical and functional fracture healing"

"Faster healing was reported in the homeopathy group by week 9 following injury, including significant improvement in fracture line (p < 0.0001), fracture edge (p<0.0001), callous formation (p< 0.05) and fracture union (p< 0.0001) in comparison to placebo. There was also lower use of analgesics and less self-reported pain in the homeopathy group."--BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 03:14, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

Maybe it is useful for the article --BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 03:16, 24 September 2014 (UTC)

As per the last primary study you posted, see WP:MEDRS. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:22, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
It is an abstract from a meeting. Not even a primary source. Desoto10 (talk) 00:01, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
Meeting ? It is a published paper-- --BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 02:16, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
Did you not read it? At the head it says "This article is part of the supplement: Scientific Abstracts Presented at the International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health 2012" and "Oral presentation". Brunton (talk) 07:45, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
It is still evidence. --BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 16:19, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
I don't think the word "evidence" means what you think it means. -Roxy the dog™ (resonate) 17:12, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
Scientific evidence. --BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 17:58, 3 October 2014 (UTC)

India

From what I understand, homeopathy is very popular and widely practiced in India. I don't see any mention of this in the article. If true, isn't it possible that there is a large body of material published on this subject by Indian publishing houses? Many Indian publishers do not distribute much of their materials outside of the sub-continent. Cla68 (talk) 00:49, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

See the "Regulation and prevalence" section. Brunton (talk) 06:46, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Study published in Rheumatology

CONCLUSIONS: This study replicates and extends a previous 1-month placebo-controlled crossover study in fibromyalgia that pre-screened for only one homeopathic remedy. Using a broad selection of remedies and the flexible LM dose (1/50 000 dilution factor) series, the present study demonstrated that individualized homeopathy is significantly better than placebo in lessening tender point pain and improving the quality of life and global health of persons with fibromyalgia.--BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 02:28, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

Maybe this study qualifies since it is published in a very reputable journal ? --BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 02:31, 2 October 2014 (UTC)

READ WP:MEDRS. We will not cite cherry-picked primary studies in this article, and your repeated posting of such studies here is a complete waste of time. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:28, 2 October 2014 (UTC)
I thought it would be interesting for the editors of this article to be aware about research in Homeopathy published in first rate journals. If the editors do not agree with what the study shows - for whatever reason- please feel free to disregard it. There are also negative studies for other conditions. --BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 16:13, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
I suggest that you read WP:TALK as well. Brunton (talk) 19:34, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
If you study a completely ineffective therapy enough times, you will be able to point to a positive result. At the usual p values, if 100 studies of a completely ineffective therapy are carried out, you'd expect that about 5 would show that the therapy is effective. That's why replicability is important, and why cherry picking studies is dishonest. - Nunh-huh 20:16, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
You cannot replicate individualized homeopathy. And I cannot say that a first rate journal like Rheumatology which published the paper is dishonest. They might be. I dont know. Do you? --BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 22:03, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
We are reaching the point of WP:NOTFORUM concerns. This is not a forum for general discussion of the topic, but of suggestions to improve the article. As the proposed source does not meet MEDRS, it should not be included as a source, and further general discussions about it would not be appropriate here. Yobol (talk) 22:07, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree: Nunh-huh started an irrelevant discussion about first rate journals tendencies to be honest or dishonest. I just found the paper ----as I said ----if for whatever reason you dont like it you dont have to cite it. Thanks. --BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 22:17, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
I thought you might be educable. The reading comprehension evidenced here suggests otherwise. Misrepresent me all you want here, then, I won't be responding. Just don't take silence as agreement. - Nunh-huh 23:17, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
BenGoldberg2014, it isn't a question of not citing it 'because we don't like it' - per WP:MEDRS we cannot cherry-pick individual primary studies for inclusion just because they report positive results. An article as controversial as this must be based on the best sources for any claims of efficacy - which means using systematic reviews and other meta-analysis. AndyTheGrump (talk) 23:22, 3 October 2014 (UTC)
Here's a hypothetical question, of the sort one might encounter on day 1 of an undergraduate course on Bayesian statistics. Suppose that a treatment has a prior probability of effectiveness of 0.01% (this is exceedingly generous for homeopathy, where the prior probability of effectiveness is far closer to 0% than to 0.01%). Now suppose a randomized clinical trial is performed to test that treatment, and reports a significant positive finding with an alpha of 0.05 and a power of 80% (as in the Bell trial). What is the likelihood that homeopathy actually works? What is the likelihood that the study results are a false-positive?

As an aside, the Bell paper is a classic example of overfitting. When you have only about 25 observations per arm, performing a multivariate analysis with 4 covariates (I think; the methods section is quite vague and opaque) is questionable. Interestingly, the study was negative with respect to its primary endpoint (tender point count) until it was adjusted in the multivariate model. I think these findings are very likely to be the result of overfitting, and are extremely unlikely to replicate. MastCell Talk 01:40, 4 October 2014 (UTC)

( This was not the topic - I m afraid -but if you wish and you think is appropriate in this space or in your talk page -----start another thread to discuss the Bell paper and make sure to explain why the 4 covariates are too….. many? Who is saying that they are too many and why? ).

If reputable journals publish papers on the effectiveness of Homeopathy , it is common sense that the editors of an encyclopedia would like to consider citing it. ----Thats why I posted it. As I said feel free to ignore it -especially if it conflicts with the article’s conclusions about homeopathy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by BenGoldberg2014 (talkcontribs) 22:20, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

A simple question. Have you read WP:MEDRS? AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:31, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
I have read MEDRS. Rheumatology is a peer-reviewed medical journal. I thought these kinds of sources were considered first-rate. What's the problem with this one? The objections I'm seeing above, especially the one from MastCell is, "I don't agree with the paper's conclusions, so therefore, we can't use it." Am I wrong? Cla68 (talk) 00:37, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, you are. Primary studies aren't worth much in science until they are replicated and confirmed, which is why we prefer metastudies, especially when extraordinary claims are made. Remember that about one in twenty primary studies is going to be in error, even if the design and methodology are correct. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 00:47, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
So, You are saying that a first rate peer-reviewed medical journal like Rheumatology publishes ......scientifically ....unworthy studies? — Preceding unsigned comment added by BenGoldberg2014 (talkcontribs) 00:51, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
I said nothing of the sort, and find it rude of you to try to put words in my mouth. Read WP:MEDRS. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 00:58, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
You did. You wrote "Primary studies aren't worth much in science until they are replicated and confirmed" -. Does a first rate journal typically publishes unworthy studies? That was my question.--BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 01:05, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Your "question" was a dishonest paraphrase of what I wrote. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 01:09, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Well - everybody can see what you wrote. --BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 01:15, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, they can - and anyone can see that you intentionally misrepresented what Dominus Vobisdu wrote... AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:18, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Test for your honesty - both of you. : primary studies published in Rheumatology are worth or " they aren't worth much in science until they are replicated and confirmed". Pick one. --BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 01:23, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
They are worthy of being published in Rheumatology - as primary sources, for further research. They are however of next-to-no significance in determining whether the overwhelming scientific consensus - that homeopathy doesn't work - is wrong. That needs the sort of systematic review that Wikipedia relies on for content. And as for 'honesty', why have you repeatedly asked us to cite papers giving positive results, while ignoring the mountains of papers giving negative ones?: Is that 'honest'? AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:29, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
They are worthy for Rheumatology to be published but not for wikipedia to even ....cited ---- since they don't concur with wikipedia's conclusion that homeopathy does not work? --BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 01:48, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Given that you appear to be incapable of a rational discussion, and instead repeatedly resort to gross misrepresentation of anything anyone else writes, I am no longer going to bother responding. Wikipedia policy has been explained to you, and isn't open to negotiation here - if you don't like it, you are free go elsewhere. Meanwhile, this article will not cite cherry-picked primary source papers selected for no other purpose than to promote homoeopathy. AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:58, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
That was a really rational argument. Thanks.
@Cla68: what is the problem? "Primary sources should generally not be used for medical content" as it says in bold in the lede of WP:MEDRS. We know that supporters of homoeopathy can cherry-pick from the mountain of primary-research papers on the subject to find the inevitable positive results that elementary statistics will demonstrate can be explained purely by chance. Per WP:NPOV (which is the policy underlying the thinking of WP:MEDRS), citing such papers while failing to also cite the much larger number of papers with negative results would simply be unacceptable. And we don't need to cite either. Instead, we use the types of source that WP:MEDRS recommends - systematic reviews and the like. We are obliged per WP:NPOV policy to summarise current scientific consensus in this article, and the current consensus is entirely clear and unambiguous - homoeopathy doesn't work. Adding cherry-picked primary sources to try to demonstrate the contrary is intellectually dishonest, and unworthy of anything which claims to be an encyclopaedia. AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:00, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Accusing anyone here of being a homeopathy "supporter" is an unnecessary personalization of this discussion and unproductive. All of us here swear to be in compliance with WP:NPOV or else we shouldn't be here, right? Now, the MEDRS guideline states, "If the conclusions of the research are worth mentioning (for instance, publication of a large, randomized clinical trial with surprising results), they should be described as being from a single study." So, what's the problem with mentioning this study in the article if we qualify it as being from a single study, as MEDRS suggests? You asked us to go by MEDRS, so that's what I'm trying to do in the spirit of compromise. Cla68 (talk) 01:58, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Exactly. --BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 02:08, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
How exactly is including particular primary sources cherry-picked solely for their results a 'compromise'? AndyTheGrump (talk) 02:05, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
"If the conclusions of the research are worth mentioning (for instance, publication of a large, randomized clinical trial with surprising results), they should be described as being from a single study." , so 62 people with only 56 completing the trial is "a large, randomized clinical trial with surprising results?"--Daffydavid (talk) 02:18, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
@Cla68: because that would violate the first line of WP:MEDPRI: Individual primary sources should not be cited or juxtaposed so as to "debunk", contradict, or counter the conclusions of reliable secondary sources. The source in question is nothing like a "large" clinical trial and as noted above, its results are not surprising. Out of 20 P=0.05 studies, we expect about 1 of them will reflect a false positive. VQuakr (talk) 02:22, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Can you tell us more about the previous 19 studies on the subject - ? and their conclusions? --BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 02:32, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Why don't you just read the article, particularly the section, "Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of efficacy"? Failing that, the 2005 Lancet review (PMID 16125589) referenced in that section looked at 110 primary homeopathy studies. This is why we use secondary sources, not primary studies. VQuakr (talk) 02:43, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Also, the occasional unconfirmed primary study that does show positive results pales in comparison to the heaps upon heaps of confirmed studies that show none, so WP:UNDUE applies. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 02:36, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
( I agree- especially if one choses to not cite the positive ones ( even these who appear in reputable journals) the conclusion is that there is no evidence that homeopathy works). But I would like to hear more about the 19 studies who showed negative in homeopathy for the specific condition vs the one published in Rheumatology which shows positive. --BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 02:44, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Irrelevant question. The relevant question is "where are the numerous studies that confirm this one?" Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 02:51, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
How is this irrelevant - s/he said " Out of 20 P=0.05 studies, we expect about 1 of them will reflect a false positive." I m asking him/her to show me the remaining 19 showing negative in the specific condition. --BenGoldberg2014 (talk) 03:04, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
He. Asked and answered (twice). The "specific condition" stipulation is yours not mine, and I do not accept your goalpost shifting. See WP:CHEESE. VQuakr (talk) 06:47, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Here's one that says there aren't any. [1] AndyTheGrump (talk) 02:58, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
@BenGoldberg2014: you say, "if one choses to not cite the positive ones ... the conclusion is that there is no evidence that homeopathy works". Not a conclusion that is presented in the article, which explicitly states (in the lede, in fact), that "some clinical trials produce positive results". Your concern is already addressed in the article. Brunton (talk) 08:08, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Why are you all entertaining a discussion of wp:SYN? The reason for secondary sources is clear, we don't need to keep rerunning the discussion every time a new editor comes aboard. That is why we have policy pages. LeadSongDog come howl! 06:22, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
MEDRS, as I quoted above, allows for the citation of a single study and even provides an example of how to do it. So, if you all had no intention of following MEDRS, then why did you direct us to read it? That wasn't very helpful. Cla68 (talk) 13:31, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Did you read the rest of WP:MEDPRI, and especially the sentences that follow immediately after the example of how to cite a single study? It says, "After enough time has passed for a review in the area to be published, the review should be cited in preference to the primary study." And, "If no review on the subject is published in a reasonable amount of time, then the content and primary source should be removed.". The study in question is a decade old, and there are plenty of secondary sources available (and already cited by the article). See the opening sentence of WP:MEDPRI: "Individual primary sources should not be cited or juxtaposed so as to "debunk", contradict, or counter the conclusions of reliable secondary sources." Brunton (talk) 13:56, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
And, that's why you state that it is from a single study, so the reader knows to take that into account, as MEDRS makes clear. Again, if you guys aren't going to follow MEDRS, then why are you directing editors to read it? And, if there is one study in a peer-reviewed, academic journal which perhaps validates Homeopathy as a treatment, then why wouldn't we want our readers to be aware of that? None of us here are taking sides on this topic, are we? Cla68 (talk) 15:02, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
MEDRS is explicit that we generally don't use primary studies for medical content at all. We especially don't use them against the grain of strong sources, as has already been pointed out above. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 15:10, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
No, it isn't explicit, because it actually gives an example of how to use a single, primary source in an article. Have you read MEDRS? Again, if you guys don't want to follow MEDRS, then why are you trying to cite it as the reason not to include this peer-reviewed, academic study in this article? Cla68 (talk) 15:15, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
It explicitly prohibits its use to juxtapose against secondary sources, as is being proposed in this case. MEDRS says "Individual primary sources should not be cited or juxtaposed so as to "debunk", contradict, or counter the conclusions of reliable secondary sources." This source is not reliable for the purpose as proposed. Yobol (talk) 15:19, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
It is explicit. To quote: "Primary sources should generally not be used for medical content" - it's in the lede, in bold. The bit of the guideline you are misunderstanding/cherry-picking is qualified by "If the conclusions of the research are worth mentioning ...". No such worthy research has been mentioned. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 15:22, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
"If the conclusions of the research are worth mentioning (for instance, publication of a large, randomized clinical trial with surprising results), they should be described as being from a single study, for example:" This study exactly fits this exemption. It has surprising results and is a single study. So, let's propose wording to include this source in the article, since we all agree that MEDRS should be followed. Cla68 (talk) 15:34, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Why are you ignoring explicit prohibition against using single primary studies to debunk secondary studies? Yobol (talk) 15:44, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
@Cla68: you are – for whatever reason – failing to comprehend WP:MEDRS to the point where it is now getting disruptive. Other editors have explained it to you repeatedly now. I'll not be contributing further to this section. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 15:49, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Actually, while it is disruptive, I think it's more due to the fact that Cla68 assumes (wrongly) that scholarship in the sciences works like scholarship in the humanities. I notice he does a lot of fine work with articles on history, for example. He's just a fish out of water when it comes to science, especially in controversial areas like this and creationism. Unfortunately, it takes up a lot of editor time to explain the policies to him, and I still don't think he gets it. Cla68, there is a point where good faith blundering becomes indistinguishable from garden-variety trolling, and this is not the first time you've crossed that line. When you have five editors who are very experienced in editing controversial science-related topics tell you that your reading of policy is wrong, it would best to listen harder and examine where you might have gone wrong. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 16:45, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

Homeopathists are upset

... about this article, and have signed an open letter to Jimbo written by Dana Ullman and published in HuffPo.[2] This article may need more than normal monitoring as a result. [Also posted at WP:FT/N.] Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 06:15, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

Alert WT:MED? Studies contained in that letter will no doubt be brought up. --NeilN talk to me 06:18, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
If need be. I'm aware the fringe topics can be a bit of a time sink, and that WikiProject Medicine has other pressing concerns. The application of WP:MEDRS should be straightforward here if med sources are proposed. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 06:29, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
It is the last part of the article ("Practical Solutions...") which we may need to address. Dana is essentially proposing an advocates' section and a critics' section, which would basically violate our general practice of avoiding criticism sections, but since they aren't totally forbidden, we might do well with a large/huge/massive Face-wink.svg section filling such a role. I say "large" because the criticisms are indeed massive, and they deserve their due weight. The advocates' section would be a straightforward description of claims without advocacy. At the present time we follow the general practice of having this all blended together. -- Brangifer (talk) 08:37, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Yes, having a separate section for the "homeopaths' point of view" wouldn't fly because policy requires us to identify pseudoscientific views as such prominently. Allowing daft homeopathic notions asylum in some kind of uncritical section would violate that requirement. The article we've got here is actually pretty good, and I must give credit to Ullman's piece for reminding me of that, at least! Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 08:51, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Agree with Alex. We are not here to provide a soapbox for quacks, frauds and con-artists that prey on gullible sick people and their loved ones. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 08:59, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Good grief. Cla68 (talk) 13:33, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
We're following Wikipedia's guidelines as close as we can here. The root of the complaint (although the complainers may not understand it) is that Wikipedia is heavily mainstream-science based. Since homeopathy is so widely rejected by the mainstream, there is really no chance that it's going to be treated in the way the proponents wish.
Like most of these kinds of debate, it all comes down to "What kind of encyclopedia is Wikipedia". We don't have to apologize for taking the mainstream science view...that's what Wikipedia is. The simple answer for people who don't like our rules is to set up their own encyclopedia with the rules they like...and indeed, there are several efforts to do exactly that out on the Internet.
The problem with that is that the pro-fringe folks realize that these other encyclopedias are getting very little readership...so they want to put their views into Wikipedia, where they'll be seen more widely. What they don't get is that the reason that Wikipedia is the fifth (or so) most popular site on the Internet is precisely because we have the rules and values that we do.
In effect, the public has voted for Wikipedia and against encyclopedias with different rules...and that's why we shouldn't change our rules...and if the rules don't change - then we're not going to change this article to be more friendly to the Homeopathists.
SteveBaker (talk) 17:58, 11 October 2014 (UTC)