Homeopaths, and how to deal with them
//Mac Fairbairn, Opinions Editor

They don’t reply to e-mails or return calls. The official number “for more information about homeopathy and WCHS activities” cuts off after one ring. One page of their website, called “Public Education” declares that the “WCHS was formed in response to the widespread lack of understanding about homeopathy among the general public, the media, health-related businesses and government institutions.” When I e-mailed the contact e-mail at the bottom of the page, it didn’t even exist: “Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently.”

I first figured out homeopathy was bullshit when I was 10, and what’s really bothered me since my discovery is not the fact that some people believe in homeopathy, it’s more that people aren’t laughing at them. It’s like scientology: they want to gain followers, but their message is so asinine that you can’t really tell anyone the truth about it. Luckily for you, I’ve made this information available below.

Homeopathy is an archaic practice, but its modern principles originated with a single statement by German physician Samuel Hahnemann: “let like be cured by like.” Hahnemann purported “the law of similars,” the belief that all drugs produce symptoms similar to the ones they treat. For example, a good flu remedy would cause flu symptoms in a healthy person. Hehnemann “discovered” this when he swallowed a piece of bark that was supposed to cure malaria. He experienced joint pain, fever, and shivering, early symptoms of the disease, and out of this stringent scientific process rose the great pillars of homeopathy.
The German state of medicine from which Hehnnemann emerged in the 1800s, was, to be blunt, quite shitty. The medicine was shitty, the doctors were shitty and even the people were shitty – that is, the people were covered in shit. Unsurprisingly, a lot of them were getting sick from it. Hehnemann pushed diet, exercise and most importantly, hygeine, which in addition to the administration of the homeopathic remedies formed the main principles of homeopathy. That is how homeopathy became established: A man in the 1800s insisted his patients clean themselves of shit and lo, they were miraculously cured. Apparently that same shit now covers the eyes of homeopaths, who believe his remedies were the cure and not his hygienic practices. Frankly, I’m surprised homeopaths don’t get pink eye more often.

The above mentioned homeopathic remedies are a pillar of the practice, and much more laughable. Homeopaths believe the more diluted something is, the more potent it is. For example, an undiluted substance would have a ratio of 1:1. To make it really strong, as in the common flu “remedy” oscillococcinum, for every one molecule of original substance there would be 100^200 water molecules. Unfortunately for homeopaths, this represents more molecules that are estimated to be in the entire universe. If you were too lazy to read the above paragraph, read this: homeopathic remedies = water.

As science continued to decimate their legitimacy, homeopaths came up with the idea of water memory, as a way to re-legitimize their remedies, saying that water retains the memory of the substances within it. As every normal person knows, this just doesn’t make sense. Remember the last time you ran out of ketchup? Everyone knows that scooping out the last drops under the cap isn’t going to do anything for your mac and cheese. It’s not like anyone needed to disprove this concept, but repeated scientific tests have made a mockery of it, proving once and for all that using a homeopathic remedy to cure yourself is like using a hairnet as a condom.

With all of this knowledge, the funniest thing about homeopathy is the continued support from its practicioners. The WCHS, for example, is petitioning for homeopathy to become a self-regulating health profession under the Health Professions Acts, comparable only to a deep fried mayonnaise company petitioning trans-fats to replace vegetables on the food guide pyramid. So why aren’t we laughing at them?

Think of the famous people we poke fun at: Sarah Palin, drug addled movie stars and idiotic beauty queens. If Robert Downey Jr. hadn’t realized he was becoming a go-to Late Nite joke, and changed because of it, we never would have seen him as Tony Stark in Iron Man. Take Sarah Palin as the opposite example. Instead of preparing for the occasional interview or reading a history book, she says her detractors are propogandists, misogynists and defamers. We can change history with our laughter, or we can continue to chuckle as people like Sarah Palin provide us with hours of unsolicited entertainment. Either way, we win.

Personally, I love how fly-by-night the WCHS’s attempt to legitimize itself is. Their co-ordinator for the movement doesn’t even have a working e-mail, their website appears to have been made by a small, albeit semi-intelligent monkey, and none of them pick up their phones, as if they’re afraid 21st century technology will leech away their magical homeopathic powers.
It’s not like I’m worried about it anymore though. I enjoy following homeopathy the way I enjoyed watching Sarah Palin: even though I hate her, and am slightly scared that people believe her, it’s still really, really funny. Next time someone claims their homeopathic remedy helped them, or you see a tattered homeopathy petition hanging from a sign post, don’t worry that people believe in it, just laugh at the idea of people that some people actually do.

//Mac Fairbairn, Opinions Editor

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com