Debate: Homeopathy is Pseudoscience

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Kiss my dark side
Valued Senior Member
This is the debate thread between Myself and Dr. Nancy Malik, I am unsure wether Syzygys still wishes to be involved in this debate.

If you are a non-debater and wish to discuss the debate topic or the progress of the debate, you are welcome to use the Discussion Thread.

The format and participants in the debate were agreed in the Proposal thread

This debate will be conducted acording to standed rules with 2 variations.
1) the maximum length of time between posts is 7 days
2) All posts must be surported by published randomised controled trials or cocochrane grade reviews

If anyone else wishes to be involved you have till tomorow to submit your name in the proposal thread

This begins round 1
I would like to start this debate by thanking my opponent for this opportunity to clear the myth that there is any scientific evidence supporting Homeopathy and its correct placement in sciforums.

i would also like to point out that im not an oponant of complementry alternitive med (CAM's). Some have been shown to be effective like aupuncher in certain situations and others have deeply cultural roots (like the traditional med of the australian aborigionals). The main thing about these practices is firstly that practioners are honest about the scientific efficasy and secondly that the practioner doesnt discorage scientific med.

Now, I will start by explaining what Cochrane is because it will form the majority of my debate. The cochrane library was created as a database of high quality meta research to allow both health professionals and the general public across all countries to have access to the latest information on various treatments so that they can chose the one with the best evidence of its efficacy.

in there own words:

The Cochrane Library is a collection of databases that contain high-quality, independent evidence to inform health-care decision-making. Cochrane reviews represent the highest level of evidence on which to base clinical treatment decisions. In addition to Cochrane reviews, The Cochrane Library provides other sources of reliable information, from other systematic review abstracts, technology assessments, economic evaluations and individual clinical trials – all the current evidence in one single environment

In general this organisation requires double blind randomised controlled trials unless this is not possible. Double blind means that neither the doctor, nor the patient knows whether they are receiving the treatment to be tested or the placebo. now obviously this isn't always possible for instance in surgical procedures where the surgeon needs to know what they are doing

Now onto homoeopathy,

acording to wikipedia homoeopathy is defined as:

...a form of alternative medicine first defined by Samuel Hahnemann in the 18th century.[1] Homeopathic practitioners contend that an ill person can be treated using a substance that can produce, in a healthy person, symptoms similar to those of the illness. According to homeopaths, serial dilution, with shaking between each dilution, removes the toxic effects of the remedy while the qualities of the substance are retained by the diluent (water, sugar, or alcohol). The end product is often so diluted that it is indistinguishable from pure water, sugar or alcohol.[2][3][4] Practitioners select treatments according to a patient consultation that explores the physical and psychological state[5] of the patient, both of which are considered important to selecting the remedy.[6]....

Now if we look at this theory im sure everyone can see the logical hole in the third sentance, that is how can something be harmless (its only water after all) and yet at the same time it is still effective (as water isnt). This logical inconsistancy cant be concidered to be proof should make people suspicious to start with.

on to the evidence

a search on cochrane shows 8 Cochrane reviews on various disorders. I wont be posting the whole articals here but for anyone who's country doesnt provide access i can provide more detailes on each of them if asked through the disscussion thread.

In this post i will start with a trial on ADD and ADHD

Homeopathy for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or hyperkinetic disorder

MK Coulter, ME Dean

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008 Issue 3 (Status: Unchanged)
Copyright © 2008 The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005648.pub2 This version first published online: 17 October 2007 in Issue 4, 2007

This record should be cited as: Coulter MK, Dean ME. Homeopathy for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or hyperkinetic disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD005648. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD005648.pub2.



Homeopathy is one form of complementary/alternative medicine which is promoted as being a safe and effective form of treatment for children and adults. Within the UK homeopathy use is estimated at 1.9% of the adult population (Thomas 2004), and around 11% for children under 16 years (Simpson 2001). There has been increased interest in homeopathy's potential as a non-pharmacological intervention for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder as an alternative to the use of stimulant medications such as Ritalin. Homeopathy is a system of medicine based on the principle of treating "like with like" using various dilutions of natural or man-made substances. Homeopathy focuses on the unique characteristics of each patient's experience and symptomatology and uses this information to determine the appropriate prescription for each patient.


To assess the safety and effectiveness of homeopathy as a treatment for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Search strategy

We searched a wide set of databases from their inception to March 2006 including: CENTRAL, MEDLINE, AMED, BIOSIS, CISCOM, CINAHL, Dissertation Abstracts, ECH (European Committee for Homeopathy thesis database), EMBASE, ERIC, HomInform (Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital Library), LILACS, PsycINFO, Science Citation Index, SIGLE, GIRI - International congress on ultra-low doses, Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis.
We contacted experts in the field about ongoing or current research.

Selection criteria

All studies where individualised, clinical or formula homeopathy had been used to treat participants with ADHD or HKD who were randomly or quasi-randomly allocated to either true treatment or a control were selected. Control groups could include wait-list, no treatment, medication, placebo homeopathy, educational or behavioural interventions.

Data collection and analysis

Data from four eligible studies (total n = 168) were extracted and entered into RevMan. Results were synthesised and estimates of the effect sizes were calculated and presented as appropriate (using standardised mean differences) in both graphical and narrative form (narrative only was used where no effect size calculation was possible).

Main results

The forms of homeopathy evaluated to date do not suggest significant treatment effects for the global symptoms, core symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity or impulsivity, or related outcomes such as anxiety in Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Authors' conclusions

There is currently little evidence for the efficacy of homeopathy for the treatment of ADHD. Development of optimal treatment protocols is recommended prior to further randomised controlled trials being undertaken.


Plain language summary

This review aimed to assess the evidence for homeopathy as an intervention for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Four trials were retrieved and assessed with mixed results. Overall the results of this review found no evidence of effectiveness for homeopathy for the global symptoms, core symptoms or related outcomes of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

At this point i will yeild the floor to my oponants
scientific research in homeopathy

Kleijnen J, Knipschild P, ter Riet G (1991). Clinical trials of homeopathy British Medical Journal, 302:316–323. This review of research assessed 105 trials, 81 of them positive [1]. The authors concluded: “Based on this evidence we would be ready to accept that homoeopathy can be efficacious, if only the mechanism of action were more plausible”, “the evidence presented in this review would probably be sufficient for establishing homeopathy as a regular treatment for certain indications”.
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