I am a bit apprehensive about coming out as a sceptic. You might think I have got a lot of experience already, confessing myself to be a vegetarian and bisexual, but this feels different. I don’t mind if my friends take a homeopathic remedy for colds or even if they invite me to one of the many paranormal funfairs we have in this country. I am a bit frightened that coming out as a sceptic will make some of my friends feel as if I disapprove of the choices they make. I don’t. I think having friends with different experiences and opinions makes life more fun. And I would hate to be a lonely sceptic, typing away furiously and wondering why nobody else has seen the light…
Talking about not seeing the light: I am amazed that my health insurance covers homeopathy when everybody who has taken the time to read about it will have discovered that the underlying principles are flawed. If you hadn’t yet noticed this, please refer to “Trick or treatment?” by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst:
” From a scientific perspective, it is impossible to explain how a remedy that is devoid of any active ingredient can have any conceivable effect on any medical condition, apart from the obvious placebo effect.”
My pharmacist is doing a roaring trade in homeopathic flu remedies as we speak. And if that was the only kind of homeopathic medicine, I would not be writing this. After all, if you have the money to treat yourself to a nicely packaged bottle of water when you’re having a cold, that would be fine with me.
Peter Chappell, an English homeopath, travelled to Ethiopia to offer people suffering from AIDS a new kind of medicine. On the website you can read how PC1 is
“a treatment to complement ARVs and prevention programs that is effective, cheap and without side-effects.”
The clue is in claiming that it doesn’t have side-effects: PC1 is a homeopathic concoction. Chappell gave the rights to this “real ray of hope” as it’s called on the website, to the ARHF Foundation. And they are currently asking for financial support from people who want to help fight AIDS in Africa.
Don’t you just hate the thought that somebody who has no access to real medication for AIDS is offered a bottle of water that has been shaken violently? I have met people with AIDS at a time when there were no ARV’s and it’s a devastating disease. Many people in Africa have faith in western medicine. I think people like Peter Chappell are betraying their trust.