Making your own reality
Posted by apgaylard on August 19, 2008
This is just a short post to note, with disappointment but not surprise, that some homeopaths are still making up things about the meta-regression analysis of Shang et al and others are only interested in parroting them.
Well-known American homeopath Dana Ullman, in an interview which is being carried on the Sue Young Homeopathy website is making up his own reality and it seems that Sue Young would like to live in it, unencumbered by the intrusion of nasty facts.
Paul Wilson has ably covered the misconceptions and untruths proffered by Ullman. Given that he made one incontrovertible error of fact, I thought that I’d try an engage with Sue Young (“homeopath, a writer and a human being”) on the narrow point of Ullman’s accuracy. I did this on the basis that getting simple facts badly wrong hardly does the credibility of her site any good. (hyperlinks and red text added for this post)
Just a small correction to a comment made by Dana in the interview. It is quite wrong to say that the study by Shang et al, “did not include any of David Reilly’s research”. It did; the following three studies were included, though none met the criteria for ‘higher quality’. (The [numbers] are the reference numbers used by the authors in their webappendix and other material available on-line.)
 Reilly D, Taylor MA, Beattie NGM, et al. Is evidence for homoeopathy reproducible? Lancet 1994; 344: 1601-06.
 Reilly DT, Taylor MA, McSharry C, Aitchison T. Is homoeopathy a placebo response? Controlled trial of homoeopathic potency, with pollen in hayfever as model. Lancet 1986; 2: 881-85.
 Reilly DT, Taylor MA. Potent placebo or potency? A proposed study model with initial findings using homoepathically prepared pollens in hayfever. Br Homoeopath J 1985; 74: 65-75.
I’m sure that you’ll agree that it’s important to get the facts right – even if we disagree about what they mean.
I have submitted my comment twice, both times is disappeared from the moderation queue. I’ve even e-mailed to ask why this has happened; to no avail. It really does the credibility of homeopaths and their apologists no good to keep repeating the same stories to each other; even when they must know they are wrong.
It seems par for the course that homeopaths make up stories about the contents of Shang et al. Others merely misunderstand and misrepresent the paper. I understand why they don’t like its conclusions; but rather than criticising what it is not or attacking the motives of the authors, they should really be engaging with the work as it is.
So, to any passing homeopaths that come across this post all I’d like to say is: I know why you don’t like the paper, please tell me where the errors are and by the way, before you try, please do be sure to read it – along with their reply to their critics – first.
Edit. I’m pleased to say that not all homeopaths are as closed-minded as Sue Young. “Life Care – Advanced Homeopathy” are carrying the same piece, I submitted the same comment: the difference is that it has passed moderation and appears on their blog. Thank you Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad; credit where it is due. (7/08/2010) No, wait, it’s been removed Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad is just another homeopathy propagandist.
(Dr Aust’s piece on Alt.Reality makes a good companion for this post.)
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