Jan's column: theorising?!
A study about the use of homeopathic remedies in the prevention of diarrhea in young pigs, has recently been published in the Netherlands. The study was double blind, also called Randomized Clinical Trial (RCT). The result was definitely positive and could not be explained away as placebo.
Professor Savekool reacted to the result with these words: "There are examples of proven clinical effectiveness of some homeopathic remedies but there is not a single physical-chemical mechanism known that can explain homeopathy scientifically." This is a typical reaction for many scientists but this is not a scientific reasoning. The facts are the facts and any theory that cannot explain the facts is limited or wrong. In the case of physics and chemistry, the theories are just too limited to be able to describe the homeopathic results. Physics and chemistry lack the scope to explain homeopathy.
Of course, professor Savekool tries to explain the results away by suggesting that the selection was not random, the groups were too small, and so on with similar arguments. As a scientist, however, he should be intrigued by a result that does not fit existing theories and repeat the study to find out if his arguments are valid or not. Unsurprisingly, this is not done at all.
We see the same phenomenon in the 7 meta-analysis about homeopathy. All results show that homeopathy cannot be explained away as placebo and recommend that more research should be done but then, there is no research coming on. No money is generated for the research and proposals for research are regularly blocked by ethical committees arguing that it is unethical to try an unproven healing science on patients!
Science in these kind of reactions is far away. Scientists should become very interested, when seeing a fact that does not fit in with their theories. These phenomena have always led to new discoveries and theories; unexplained experiments are the most promising. Of course, there can be mistakes in experiments and a thorough analysis will show that the facts were not real. That, however, has to be determined. In other words, even more research is needed.
Let us, as homeopaths, not do the same and deny facts that do not fit existing theories but build theories on existing facts.
Keywords: column, theories, facts, research