Mark Taylor: Sceptics, unlike homeopaths, are failing to listen to reason

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    [post_date] => 2019-07-09 14:44:00
    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-07-09 13:44:00
    [post_content] => I had coffee with that Simon Singh once.

We had sat across a table from each other at a Charity Commission meeting and agreed to have a ‘quiet’ coffee somewhere. Quiet in my case because I was frightened that a Society member might spot me consorting with the devil incarnate – aka one of the leading campaigners against homeopathy on scientific grounds – and get the wrong end of the stick. So, we met hidden away at Waterloo Station one dark afternoon.

My purpose was to try and understand the enemy; to get a feeling for what he thought and aspired to in order that we could water down his campaigns against homeopathy and possibly even learn how to counter them. Guess what? It didn’t work.

He was perfectly convivial but he simply didn’t get it. He seemed to treat the whole issue as a game, something from the university debating society, shocked at my assertion he was part of number of campaigns that could put thousands of people out of work.

Baseless arguments

The thing about homeopaths is they understand it from both sides. We acknowledge patient safety and are prepared to forswear some of the more contentious issues and language. Even though we know some of the arguments put by sceptics are baseless, we are prepared to compromise and reluctantly go along with sometimes absurd rules. The sceptics are not. Despite the huge popularity of homeopathy, the importance of patient choice, the lack of public funding and the non-toxic nature of remedies, they don’t compromise. They won’t accept any counter-argument; they don’t consider that 200 million homeopathy patients round the world may be on to something or that there is credible evidence to be considered. They put their fingers in their ears, close their eyes and shout 'No! no! no!', drowning out all around them. The current threat from the Good Thinking Society (Chair, Simon Singh) to pursue a judicial review against the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) is a case in point. Their accompanying statement is a quite deliberate one-eyed commentary, ignoring the evidence and containing statements that are simply false. One example: ‘A patient could, via the PSA’s list of accredited practitioners, find themselves consulting with a homeopath who discourages vaccination and believes they can cure children of autism.' That is simply not true.

Unfounded hysteria

Why should this be the case? Why in a world where things are never set, where questions have to be asked about everything and compromise is always required, do this handful of sceptics feel able to refuse to listen, whip up unfounded hysteria and be selective with the truth? The answer, I suspect, lies with them, not us. It is they who have developed an irrational antipathy to homeopathy, who have become addicted to recreational outrage, and who spend too much time on social media. So, next time you see another hyperbolic statement or a frenzied rant, be comforted that it is homeopaths who are the professionals, who are constantly using and referring to evidence and working within strict guidelines laid down by agencies to ensure patient protection. It is the sceptics who have no patients, no understanding of homeopathy and no willingness to compromise, adapt, listen or learn. [post_title] => Mark Taylor: Sceptics, unlike homeopaths, are failing to listen to reason [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => mark-taylor-sceptics-unlike-homeopaths-are-failing-to-listen-to-reason [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-07-09 14:44:00 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-07-09 13:44:00 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://homeopathy-soh.org/?post_type=blogs&p=17671 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => blogs [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )

I had coffee with that Simon Singh once.

We had sat across a table from each other at a Charity Commission meeting and agreed to have a ‘quiet’ coffee somewhere. Quiet in my case because I was frightened that a Society member might spot me consorting with the devil incarnate – aka one of the leading campaigners against homeopathy on scientific grounds – and get the wrong end of the stick. So, we met hidden away at Waterloo Station one dark afternoon.

My purpose was to try and understand the enemy; to get a feeling for what he thought and aspired to in order that we could water down his campaigns against homeopathy and possibly even learn how to counter them. Guess what? It didn’t work.

He was perfectly convivial but he simply didn’t get it. He seemed to treat the whole issue as a game, something from the university debating society, shocked at my assertion he was part of number of campaigns that could put thousands of people out of work.

Baseless arguments

The thing about homeopaths is they understand it from both sides. We acknowledge patient safety and are prepared to forswear some of the more contentious issues and language. Even though we know some of the arguments put by sceptics are baseless, we are prepared to compromise and reluctantly go along with sometimes absurd rules.

The sceptics are not.

Despite the huge popularity of homeopathy, the importance of patient choice, the lack of public funding and the non-toxic nature of remedies, they don’t compromise. They won’t accept any counter-argument; they don’t consider that 200 million homeopathy patients round the world may be on to something or that there is credible evidence to be considered. They put their fingers in their ears, close their eyes and shout ‘No! no! no!’, drowning out all around them.

The current threat from the Good Thinking Society (Chair, Simon Singh) to pursue a judicial review against the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) is a case in point. Their accompanying statement is a quite deliberate one-eyed commentary, ignoring the evidence and containing statements that are simply false.

One example: ‘A patient could, via the PSA’s list of accredited practitioners, find themselves consulting with a homeopath who discourages vaccination and believes they can cure children of autism.’ That is simply not true.

Unfounded hysteria

Why should this be the case? Why in a world where things are never set, where questions have to be asked about everything and compromise is always required, do this handful of sceptics feel able to refuse to listen, whip up unfounded hysteria and be selective with the truth?

The answer, I suspect, lies with them, not us.

It is they who have developed an irrational antipathy to homeopathy, who have become addicted to recreational outrage, and who spend too much time on social media.

So, next time you see another hyperbolic statement or a frenzied rant, be comforted that it is homeopaths who are the professionals, who are constantly using and referring to evidence and working within strict guidelines laid down by agencies to ensure patient protection.

It is the sceptics who have no patients, no understanding of homeopathy and no willingness to compromise, adapt, listen or learn.

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