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Barking mad ‘science’ (in defense of homeopathy)

This post has been buzzing inside my head for a while. I has to do with a video I came across a couple of weeks ago that really bothered me, but with the attacks in France, and everything else that’s been going on in the real world lately, it just felt too trivial to write about. Anyway, now that some time has gone by the time has come for me to try to get back in the rhythm of things, so here it goes.

This one has to do with homeopathy, or rather with the way in which its detractors go totally insane as soon as the h-word is mentioned (they basically react as if it were a particularly nasty, and an unusually long, four-letter word). Now, before we go any further, a bit of a disclaimer:

My relationship with homeopathy is a complicated one. My father’s a doctor, as are a number of other members of my family, so I grew up in a world in which the notion that ‘homeopathy is nonsense’ was a given, then two years ago something I had a problem a medical professional that caused me to reexamine some of my beliefs (okay, she was a vet, my thirteen-year-old dog was having a number of age-related issues, and I was not to sure about how she was approaching the whole thing). There was one aspect in particular that, while not terribly serious from a medical perspective, I found particularly annoying: my girl had become incontinent due to an estrogen deficiency. Seeing how she can usually be found curled up on the couch behind me as I write, it was beginning to look like my choices were to evict her from what had always been her spot (i.e. to punish her for being sick), or to resign myself to spend my days sitting in a pool of urine. As you can probably imagine, neither one of these options sounded particularly appealing. The vet suggested hormone replacement therapy, but I wasn’t quite ready to walk down that path, not without a second opinion anyway. The way I saw it, her incontinence was a condition that presented a number of characteristics that called for a different approach. In a nutshell, it was  a chronic problem that was likely to stay with my girl for the rest of her life, but at the same time it was not a degenerative condition where an aggressive intervention was a must. That gave me an unexpected bit of leeway, so I decided to try everything, beginning with the least aggressive option, and moving up from there… and even if it went against a lifetime of indoctrination, I decided to give homeopathy a fair shot (it was, after all, the least aggressive option). No, I didn’t go to Petco, and grab the first product off the shelves, what I did -knowing that I was dealing with something I knew absolutely nothing about- was to get in touch with a homeopathic vet, and set up an appointment. The outcome? Forty-eight hours later the problem was gone, and I was flabbergasted. So where do I stand? Well, my common sense is still telling me that homeopathy shouldn’t work, the evidence of my own eyes tells me that maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it, and two years later I’m still trying to figure out how exactly does the placebo effect work on a dog. Continue reading Barking mad ‘science’ (in defense of homeopathy)