Scientific Homeopathy: Fight ‘Skeptics’ As Well As ‘Energy Medicine Homeopaths’
Scientific homeopathy can advance only by waging consistent and relentless struggle against pseudo-scientific ‘energy medicine’ homeopathic theoreticians on one side, and negative-mined skeptic community on other side.
For rational-mined people, any true observation or experience of a novel natural phenomenon would be inevitably followed by an inquiry for its logical explanations. People with a scientific approach would try to explain those experiences in terms of concepts of existing knowledge system. If the new observations could not be explained satisfactorily using existing theories, it results in the formulation of a system of learned assumptions known as hypothesis. Exactly, hypothesis means a proposed explanation or educated guess regarding the observed phenomenon. To be a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test the hypothesis using available scientific tools and methodology. A hypothesis is called a working hypothesis once it is provisionally accepted as a candidate for scientific verification. Testability using existing scientific tools, simplicity, scope, fruitfulness and conservatism are considered to be the essential qualities of a working hypothesis. By conservatism, it is implied that assumptions of a good hypothesis should be fitting with existing recognized knowledge systems. Assumptions of these working hypothesis will be then subjected to rigorous verifications impartial and unprejudiced members of scientific community according to scientific methods, and if the outcomes are positive, it leads to a scientific theory and is accepted as part of scientific knowledge system. That is the way science advances.
There may be some experiences and observations that could not be easily explained using existing scientific paradigms, and formulating a scientifically viable hypothesis would be difficult. Even if they are formulated, a hypotheses may fail during scientific verifications, and will have to be abandoned temporarily or permanently. Some hypotheses could be modified, re-formulated and re-submitted for verification. But, abandoning of a particular hypothesis does not necessarily mean the experiences behind them were totally unreal or they do not exist. It only means that the proposed explanation failed. In some cases, formulating a reasonable hypothesis will be difficult. Skeptic minded people instantly deny the existence of such experiences, since they accept only experiences and observations that are ‘proved’. They consider that failure of a particular hypothesis proves the non-existence of such a phenomenon also. They fail to realize the difference between ‘unproved’ and ‘non-existent’. Beyond any doubt, there is a negative aspect in this skeptic approach.
Side by side with this negative and destructive approach of skeptics lie those pseudo-scientific people who spin imaginative ‘theories’ about every experiences without any consideration for existing knowledge system. They are never bothered about scientific methods or scientific verifications. People lacking scientific world outlook and rational thinking will float nonsense theories in a way fitting to their evil requirements, in a hurry to utilize such observations to justify and promote diverse pseudo-scientific practices they are engaged in. Both negative skepticism and pseudoscience complement each other in harming the evolution and advance of real scientific knowledge.
Exactly, homeopathy is based on two fundamental observations made by hahnemann regarding the process of cure-
1. Similia Similibus Curentur: Hahnemann observed through his experiments that diseases could be cured by extremely diluted forms of drug substances, which could produce symptoms similar to disease when applied in large doses in healthy individuals.
2. Potentization: Hahnemann developed a special process of preparing drugs by serial dilution and shaking, and observed that such expremely diluted drugs could act as therapeutic agents when applied according to similia similibus curentur
Due to the limitations imposed by the infantile stage of scientific knowledge available to him during that period, hahnemann could not formulate a viable hypothesis to explain his observation in a way fitting to the scientific knowledge system then existed. In fact, science was not properly equipped to provide a reasonable explanation for the phenomena hahnemann observed.
Instead of leaving his observations unexplained as it should have been truthfully done, hahnemann resorted to building up of a system of philosophical speculations and imaginative theorizations to explain them. May be since he found that the contemporary scientific paradigms were not sufficient for his purpose, he tried to develop a speculative philosophical system utilizing concepts such as ‘vital force’, ‘dynamic energy’ being part of spiritualistic philosophy existed then.
Obviously, this speculative part of homeopathy does not agree with scientific knowledge or its methods. As such, scientific community adopted a skeptical approach towards homeopathy. They totally denied the existence of even the fundamental observations of hahnemaan, whereas it would have been judicious to deny the theoretical explanations of homeopathy and asking for a more viable explanation for the phenomena hahnemann observed.
From a rational perspective, we have to logically differentiate between observational part of homeopathy from its speculative part. Observational part is objective experience, which forms the basis of practical application of similia similibus curentur and potentization. They should not be denied on the reason that hahnemann’s theoretical explanations contradict scientific knowledge.
Skeptical scientists deny homeopathy works on the reason that nobody could explain how homeopathy works. They should understand, both issues should be considered as different questions. The issue of efficacy of homeopathy should not be confused with the lack of explanations or wrong explanations regarding how homeopathy works.
Pseudoscientific homeopathic theoreticians, starting from hahnemann himself have contributed a lot in alienating homeopathy from scientific community, through their utter nonsense vitalistic and energy medicine theories that never agree with scientific knowledge system or scientific methods.
According to me, inorder to promote scientific homeopathy, we have to address fllowing preliminary tasks:
1. Convince the scientific community that homeopathy works, through demonstrations and scientifically acceptable clinical studies.
2. Convince them the importance of differentiating objective observational part of homeopathy from the unscientific theoretical or explanatory part of homeopathy.
2. Propose a scientifically viable working hypothesis regarding how homeopathy works, in a way fitting to the existing scientific knowledge system.
5. Prove the propositions of this hypothesis using scientific methods, in a way undisputable to the scientific community.
While addressing this five pointed fundamental tasks, scientific homeopathy will have to relentlessly fight against the negative-minded skeptics as well as pseudo-scientific energy medicine theoreticians of homeopathy.
We have to consistently tell the world, real homeopathy is entirely different from those nonsense the pseudoscientific homeopathic theoreticians preach and practice.
We have to understand and tell the homeopathic community that the negative-minded anti-homeopathic skeptics are entirely different from real scientific community.
Dialogue has to be between scientific homeopathy and scientific community