Wherein our hero laboriously addresses a longwinded and largely insubstantial counterargument from a homeopath in a point-by-point manner regardless of how confuzzled said counterargument gets: Or, WTF?

by Andrew Fogarasi

To the Arnprior Chronicle Guide:

Ms. Mueller-Code’s letter in defense of homeopathy (Arnprior Chronicle Guide EMC Nov 15) covers so much territory yet manages to say so very little of substance. Still, since she’s gone to so much trouble, it would be churlish of me not to respond. Let’s start with the numbered points, so useful in giving the illusion of a reasoned and organised argument, and meander from there, shall we?

1. The function of the media.

Ms. Mueller-Code maintains that the function of the media is to inform and not to judge. This redefinition stands in absurdly stark contrast to every pundit, columnist, and radio call-in host that ever drew breath. The media is not an encyclopaedia of just-the-facts. The reality is far more complex, and has been since before William Randal Hearst. And even though a discussion of objectivity in the media could prove quite interesting, (I personally feel that a bit more fact-based reporting would be a good thing), I am at a complete loss as to what any of this has to do with homeopathy.

2. Our constitutional rights.

I’m afraid Ms. Mueller-Code is on another tangent here, and one that is equally wrongheaded. There is really no call for confusing the constitution of Canada with an Ayn Rand novel. “Choice” is not the central tenet of our constitution, and my Canadian sensibilities (peace, order, and good government, eh?) are offended by such a blatantly American-style appeal.

Furthermore, to claim that “nobody has any jurisdiction over anyone else” is dangerously wrong. Last I checked, we were a civil society governed by laws. Not only do courts and police have jurisdiction over those who would harm others or themselves, but there are countless codes and regulations that make sure our food and water won’t poison us, our businesses won’t cheat us, our institutions will serve us fairly, etc.

I suppose a dialogue about choice and free will (without trying to shoehorn the constitution into the picture) might be fun, but again, I’m a tad mystified as to what it has to do with the main point of contention, which would be…

3. The effectiveness of homeopathic remedies.

Ms. Mueller-Code seems reluctant to offer any concrete proof, scientific studies, or factual arguments in favour of homeopathy. Perhaps the recent class action lawsuit against homeopathic manufacturer Boiron’s false advertising and the resultant $12 million settlement has given her cause to avoid any statistical claims. Instead, she tells us that since homeopathy has been around for about 200 years, it must therefore be safe and effective. Just like international communism, that jar of mayonnaise that I’m afraid to touch in the back of my fridge, and anything else that happens to be around 200 years old.

We are also informed that homeopathy works because the royal family has been using it for generations. This would be the same royal family with members that take pictures of their naked drunken Las Vegas parties and dress as Nazis for Halloween, so you just KNOW their judgement is sound.

Another reason homeopathy works, according to Ms. Mueller-Code, is because there used to be a place called the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. Mind you, they changed their name to the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine over 2 years ago, probably in an effort to stop tying themselves exclusively to an increasingly discredited practice. But still, they’ve had the words “royal” AND “hospital” in their name for the longest time, therefore homeopathy works. Wow!

Ms. Mueller-Code closes by encouraging “everyone to become more open-minded in order to make their own educated choices.” I couldn’t agree with her more. The more that people educate themselves, the closer homeopathy gets to the dustbin of history. By all means, learn all about alternatives and keep an open mind. Just, please, don’t be so open-minded that your brain falls out.

Andrew Fogarasi