Reality vrs Delusion at the BMJ

Reality vrs Delusion at the BMJ

Those of us who are a bit on the old side  remember the "Point-Counterpoint" debates between Shana Alexander and James J. Kilpatrick on 60 Minutes, and the SNL parody lives on in every friendly debate to this date.

Many issues do have pro's and cons, the exception being reality. The only counterpoint to reality is fantasy.

Medicine is weird. Astrologers do not debate in astronomy journals and alchemists are not debating in chemistry journals. Yet in this BMJ this month there is a Head to Head, Should doctors recommend homeopathy?

The yes, by Peter Fisher, suggests,

The controversial element of homeopathy is that some medicines are highly dilute, including "ultra-molecular" dilutions, in which it is highly unlikely that any of the original material is present. This is a major scientific concern and the source of the view that homeopathy "doesn't work because it can't work."

It is not only a scientific concern but a reality based concern. Despite that concern  he suggests

Doctors should put aside bias based on the alleged implausibility of homeopathy.

Alleged implausibility? I have always wondered why homeopathy is not a form of delusion.

A false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everybody else believes and despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary. The belief is not one ordinarily accepted by other members of the person's culture or subculture (e.g. it is not an article of religious faith).

I guess if you get enough homeopaths together, it is no longer a delusion, it is Integrative Medicine Department.  Over at SBM there are extensive discussions as to why homeopathy is 100% nonsense.  

I am no longer surprised when major medical journals or institutions give credence to nonsense. It is why Sisyphus is our logo.  But it still saddens me.

I look forward to the next Head to Head in the BMJ: Relativity or the Time Cube

It would be the perfect follow up.

Points of Interest 07/17/2015
Points of Interest 07/14/2015

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