Of Homeopathy and Dolphins

An article in The Telegraph starts out
Homeopathy is putting lives at risk through unfounded claims that convince people they do not need to see a doctor, a leading expert has warned.
These articles always received a butt-ton of comments, especially in the UK. Here's a sampling:
  • In the late 80's I used to suffer with sinusitis; after many courses of antibiotics, which alleviated for a while, then the problem returned. I consulted with a homeopath and after some treatement, my sinuses cleared completely, up to this day.I have seen many people, including my family members get better from homeopathy, where other medicines have failed.

  • Had bachache - took paracetamol - the pain went, came back four hours later, repeatedly took the painkiller - bachache repeatedly returned. Visited homeopath, took berberis, pain went, pain stayed away. I am pleased with this result.

  • Further to the recent article on homeopathy I would like to say that I had sever ulcerative colitus for several years until I visited a homeopath, It was gone in a week!

  • I have been a successful homeopath for several years now and before that i used homeopathy as an individual and mother and have seen its success many many times.

  • I have suffered with hayfever and hayfever related asthma for years even though I was consuming the best rememdies devised by the medical profession. A couple of years' ago, I visited a homeopath and, after a lengthy interview and Q&A session, was given assorted homeopathic remedies. Now in my second full season of treatment, I have barely had any symptoms while those around me at work sniffle, sneeze and rub eyes.
And on and on it goes. Thankfully, we don't have to depend on anecdotal evidence for answers, otherwise we might all end up buying the Brooklyn Bridge at some point in our lives. For the homeopathy faithful, homeo-remedies might just as well be magic potions. You find them descending on these news articles (and you'll find many are homeopathic practitioners themselves...so they've got money in this game).

Ever hear the story of someone floundering in the ocean, about to drown when a dolphin comes along and brings them to shore? There's confirmation bias in that story...we never hear from the people whose dolphin went the other way. So too with homeopathy...you never really hear from those for whom the treatment didn't work. I suppose you might conclude that homeopathy must therefore work for everybody. But we know that's not true...some very smart people have shown that homeopathy performs no better than placebo.

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