Homeopath Cures Autism Caused By MMR? Um, Actually No.

Homeopath Cures Autism Caused By MMR? Um, Actually No.

Try this one on
A recent post on a homeopath's blog made the claim in the above headline. I'm not going to argue the hyperbolic anti-vaccine nonsense today, one thing at a time.

Since the comments section was closed (and now entirely deleted!) fairly rapidly, I thought I'd add my response to Doc Sonya as an open letter here.

Sonya,
You seem like a caring person, but please take a step back and recognise your own subjective role in this case. That homeopathy appears to have "worked" for you is neither here nor there. It's similar to having a "personal revelation" in the religious community — it may have convinced you, but others will need more substantial proof.

The studies you continue to quote have been utterly debunked, as you are no doubt aware, yet you cling to them in every argument. There is no international conspiracy against homeopathy, big pharma isn't trying to close you down; quite the reverse in fact, many large corporations are interested in keeping the homeopathic myth alive in order to continue flogging their own specious preparations (see the case against Boots chemist in the UK).

I accept you want to help people and, for you, homeopathy appears to work. However, by looking concerned and taking a human interest in people, in their own way, palm readers, angel therapists, and witchdoctors too, have all probably helped many people in the past. But let's face it: they're all just comfortable fictions — as is homeopathy.

While helping people (even by placebo, medical doctors also do this) is always admirable, there is a terrible price to pay for promoting magical thinking, scientific irresponsibility, and gullibility. We need only look at the mother who tried to slit her own children's throats just last week to spare them the impending rapture.

How can I make this extreme connection, you ask? Vulnerable people are apt to clutch at straws and let their hope trump common sense, whether you condone it or not people *may* abandon proven and effective treatment in favour of sugar pills and pseudo-scientific jargon. When this happens, lives are tragically shortened. You may have heard of the absurd "Homeopaths Without Borders"() who claim to be treating victims of malaria and cholera in Haiti.

You may say it is a patient's right to choose, but there is a stronger duty of care here: the championing of what is true. There is a world of difference between choice and informed consent.

I think if you search your heart honestly, you may find a glimmer of doubt there. Can it really be true? This bizarre magic theory which leaped fully-formed from the mind of an 18th Century village doctor? His infamous Law of Similars, for which he provides no mechanism or explanation, we just have to "take his word for it"?

What about the fact that homeopathy matches the dictionary definition of a cult? That every clear thinking scientist on the planet abhors the practice? That the National Council Against Health Fraud officially advises consumers "not to buy homeopathic products or to patronize homeopathic practitioners"?

Surely some of this hits home. You are simply on the wrong side of history, I sincerely hope you re-evaluate your choices.

With love,

Darwin

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Endnotes:
  1. not affiliated with the excellent Médecins Sans Frontières. Some wags have suggested they be mroe correctly called Médecins Sans Médicaments. [back ↩]