10:23 – Participant’s Perspective

It is I once again, your friendly neighborhood Guest Blogger, sillypunk!

As Mr. Topp has blogged previously, there is going to be a protest regarding the sale of Homeopathic remedies by Boots.  The 10:23 site has many links and stories regarding why Homeopathy is a) useless b) bad.

I wasn’t intending on joining the protest originally, mainly because I never protest anything but decided to go as I was going to the Trick or Treatment lectures that day at Conway Hall anyway.   The protest has been receiving considerable cover; all the major UK papers have covered it, with opinions ranging from that held by the organizers to ‘what harm will it do?’

Well.  I suppose in the end, it really does no harm to those that take it (unless they suffer from a nocebo effect), and perhaps they may benefit from the placebo effect, or a sugar rush.  It is quite funny, I have my bottle of 30C Belladonna and it has NO active ingredients.   It states: 84 Sucrose/lactose pillules.  As well as ‘A homeopathic medicinal product without approved therapeutic indications.’  I seriously can’t believe that they can get away with charging almost £5 a bottle.  And its a tiny bottle, more like a Smarties tube rather than a bottle of pills.  I suppose eating a tube of smarties would have the same sugar rush effect as my 30C Belladonna. 

But there is harm.  One only has to gasp in disbelief and horror at the High Dose Vitamin treatment offered in South Africa for treatment of HIV/AIDS.  Or the anti-Vaccination crowd bringing back in fashion easily preventable childhood illnesses.  Alternative treatments, in that light, are certainly very, very harmful. 

If people want to believe in homeopathic or other remedies, fine.  Just don’t call them ‘treatments, medicine, medicinal etc.’ because they are not.  It’s faith healing in the end.   They shouldn’t even be in the pharmacy for the credit it lends them.   I understand the perils and problems within modern medical science and the huge quagmire of scary that is the pharmaceutical industry but in the end, if I’m ill or injured, they fix me.   There is an entire infrastructure testing, developing, (marketing, sadly), researching and improving the rates of survival for many diseases and injuries.  I don’t think any alternative therapies invest in such things (there are some tiny studies that demonstrate its effectiveness to be similar to the placebo effect though). 

But for every alternative remedy that survives and is essentially funded by these quack medicines being sold, the more likely people like Matthias Rath can peddle vitamin pills as a cure for AIDS.   So, that in the end is why I decided to do this protest.  Wincing at the fact that we had to buy them (we tried to buy them ironically but the cashier didn’t understand the joke), I will be taking my sugar pills with water at 10:23 on January 30th.  To be fair, I”ll need the sugar, I’m out late the night before at a concert

If I survive, which I’m fairly confident I will, I’ll regale you all with tales of sugar pill popping and scepticism.

4 thoughts on “10:23 – Participant’s Perspective

  1. Thanks for guest blogging (again). Perhaps we should stop calling you a guest blogger, and instead call you a contributer?

    I could have sworn that this was happening last weekend. The 23rd day of 2010 was a Saturday, and meshed nicely with the name of the protest. Why this is happening a week afterwards is just baffling.

    Also, although I agree with every point you make, something strikes me as wrong about this protest.

    Perhaps it’s that everybody involved is purchasing the homeopathy pills, and feeding the beast that they are protesting.

    Perhaps it’s that homeopaths agree that there should be no ill side effects from taking their “remedies”, so you’re unlikely to convince anybody who doesn’t agree with you.

    In any case, I’m glad to have an insider blogging on it. Good luck, and happy protesting!

  2. Yeah, I kind of grated at the necessary evil of purchasing the pills.

    But perhaps with the exposure this campaign is receiving, it’ll save people who may have been contemplating the sugar pill experience to think again.

    Who knows. And it was planned for this weekend to be in conjunction with Trick or Treatment at Conway Hall!

  3. Perhaps, but there’s a fantastic post over on Science Based Medicine about the roots of belief in “alternative medicine”, and how it is rooted in a philosophy of “reflexive doubt”.

    While the post itself looks at natural childbirth and anti-vaccination movements — mileage may vary for homeopathy — it fits well with my own belief regarding people who believe in alternative medicine. In short, they feel that they have enlightened themselves, and that the rest of us have been duped by supposed experts who are really only out for themselves.

    If the purpose of the protest is to try to convince government to increase regulation on the claims that can be made by sugar pill peddlers, it could have some success. I doubt that it is likely to convince people who might take them that they are wrong.

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